Harold Bloom’s new book on King Lear is one in a series he is writing about Shakespeare’s personalities, including Hamlet, Falstaff, and Cleopatra.1 It is a short book of 160 pages, many of them taken up with long quotations from the play usually followed by rather brief comments from the critic. Those who have read Bloom on Shakespeare in previous books—Shakespeare, The Western Canon, The Anatomy of Influence—will find little here that is new except an even greater willingness on Bloom’s part to put himself front and center with utterances such as “It is pitiful that . . .” or “Who...


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