Partner Michael Z. Wu

Queer Places:
615 16th street, Rockford, Illinois
Telluride House, 217 West Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850
Cornell University (Ivy League), 410 Thurston Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850
Yale University (Ivy League), 38 Hillhouse Ave, New Haven, CT 06520
Har Jehuda Cemetery Upper Darby, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, USA

Allan Bloom: On Tocqueville [ Boston College 1983] : Allan Bloom : Free  Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet ArchiveAllan David Bloom (September 14, 1930 – October 7, 1992) was an American philosopher, classicist, and academician. He studied under David Grene, Leo Strauss, Richard McKeon, and Alexandre Kojève. He subsequently taught at Cornell University, the University of Toronto, Tel Aviv University, Yale University, École normale supérieure, and the University of Chicago. Far from being a conservative ideologue, Bloom was an eccentric interpreter of Enlightenment thought who led an Epicurean, quietly gay life. His last book, Love and Friendship, was dedicated to his companion, Michael Z. Wu.

Bloom championed the idea of Great Books education and became famous for his criticism of contemporary American higher education, with his views being expressed in his bestselling 1987 book, The Closing of the American Mind.[2] Characterized as a conservative in the popular media,[3] Bloom denied the label, asserting that what he sought to defend was the "theoretical life".[4] Saul Bellow wrote Ravelstein, a roman à clef based on Bloom, his friend and colleague at the University of Chicago. In the novel, both Julien (Hubert Sorin) and Abe (Allan Bloom) have very developed tastes for luxury. Julien inherits a small legacy, but the enhancement of his lifestyle is mostly paid for by his lover, Austin (Edmund White). Ravelstein instead pays for his own lover, Nicky (Michael Z. Wu), Ravelstein's friend is Chick (Saul Bellow).

Bloom was born in Indianapolis, Indiana to second-generation Jewish parents who were both social workers. The couple had a daughter, Lucille, two years earlier. As a thirteen-year-old, Bloom read a Reader's Digest article about the University of Chicago and told his parents he wanted to attend; his parents thought it was unreasonable and did not encourage his hopes.[5] Yet, when his family moved to Chicago in 1944, his parents met a psychiatrist and family friend whose son was enrolled in the University of Chicago's humanities program for gifted students. In 1946, Bloom was accepted to the same program, starting his degree at the age of fifteen, and spending the next decade of his life enrolled at the university in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood.[5] This began his lifelong passion for the 'idea' of the university.[6] In the preface to Giants and Dwarfs: Essays, 1960–1990, he stated that his education "began with Freud and ended with Plato". The theme of this education was self-knowledge, or self-discovery—an idea that Bloom would later write, seemed impossible to conceive of for a Midwestern American boy. He credits Leo Strauss as the teacher who made this endeavor possible for him.[7] Bloom graduated from the University of Chicago with a bachelor's degree at the age of 18.[8] One of his college classmates was the classicist Seth Benardete.[9] For post-graduate studies, he enrolled in the University of Chicago's Committee on Social Thought, where he was assigned classicist David Grene as tutor. Bloom went on to write his thesis on Isocrates. Grene recalled Bloom as an energetic and humorous student completely dedicated to studying classics, but with no definite career ambitions.[5] The committee was a unique interdisciplinary program that attracted a small number of students due to its rigorous academic requirements and lack of clear employment opportunities after graduation.[5] Bloom earned his Ph.D. from the Committee on Social Thought in 1955. He subsequently studied under the influential Hegelian philosopher Alexandre Kojève in Paris, whose lectures Bloom would later introduce to the English-speaking world. While teaching philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, he befriended Raymond Aron, amongst many other philosophers. Among the American expatriate community in Paris, his friends included writer Susan Sontag.[10][11][12]

Bloom studied and taught in Paris (1953–55) at the École Normale Supérieure,[14] and Germany (1957). Upon returning to the United States in 1955, he taught adult education students at the University of Chicago with his friend Werner J. Dannhauser, author of Nietzsche's View of Socrates. Bloom went on to teach at Yale from 1960 to 1963, at Cornell until 1970, and at the University of Toronto until 1979, when he returned to the University of Chicago. Among Bloom's former students are prominent journalists, government officials and political scientists such as Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kraynak, Pierre Hassner, Clifford Orwin, Janet Ajzenstat, John Ibbitson, James Ceaser, and Thomas Pangle. In 1963, as a professor at Cornell, Allan Bloom served as a faculty member of the Cornell Branch of the Telluride Association, an organization focused on intellectual development and self-governance. The students received free room and board in the Telluride House on the Cornell University campus and assumed the management of the house themselves. While living at the house, Bloom befriended former U.S. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins.[15] Bloom's first book was a collection of three essays on Shakespeare's plays, Shakespeare's Politics; it included an essay from Harry V. Jaffa. He translated and commented upon Rousseau's "Letter to M. d'Alembert on the Theater", bringing it into dialogue with Plato's Republic. In 1968, he published his most significant work of philosophical translation and interpretation, a translation of Plato's Republic. Bloom strove to achieve "translation ... for the serious student". The preface opens on page xi with the statement, "this is intended to be a literal translation."[16][page needed] Although the translation is not universally accepted, Bloom said he always conceptualized the translator's role as a matchmaker between readers and the texts he translated.[17] He repeated this effort as a professor of political science at the University of Toronto in 1978, translating Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Emile. Among other publications during his years of teaching was a reading of Swift's Gulliver's Travels, titled "Giants and Dwarfs"; it became the title for a collection of essays on, among others, Raymond Aron, Alexandre Kojève, Leo Strauss, and liberal philosopher John Rawls. Bloom was an editor for the scholarly journal Political Theory as well as a contributor to History of Political Philosophy (edited by Joseph Cropsey and Leo Strauss). After returning to Chicago, he befriended and taught courses with Saul Bellow. In 1987 Bellow wrote the preface to The Closing of the American Mind. Bloom's last book, which he dictated while in the hospital dying, and which was published posthumously, was Love and Friendship, an offering of interpretations on the meaning of love. There is an ongoing controversy over Bloom's semi-closeted homosexuality, possibly culminating, as in Saul Bellow's thinly fictionalized account in Ravelstein, in his death in 1992 from AIDS.[18] Bloom's friends do not deny his homosexuality, but whether he actually died of AIDS remains disputed.[19]

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