[ History of English
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Glossary of Literary Theory
Anxiety of influence:
A term used by Harold Bloom to describe the overriding sense of belatedness
that creative writers feel when they confront the rich plenitude of a literary
tradition that seems to leave little room for novelty. According to Bloom,
strong writers make literary history by misreading and misinterpreting
their titanic predecessors so as to clear imaginative space for themselves.
Every poem is a misprision or misconstrual of a hypothetical parent poem.
Bloom's theory of the genesis of poems has a self-admitted psychoanalytic
resonance, Sigmund Freud's Oedipal scenario being used as an analogy for
the relationship between poet and predecessor.
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