A conversation between [Samuel] Johnson and Goethe is all but inconceivable. Perhaps a gathering of Shakespeare, Plato, and Oscar Wilde, put together in Eternity, could create it. Shakespeare would convey the inability of the English critic and the German poet to listen to each other, while Plato would mold the irony of the encounter, and Wilde suggest the wasted wit.
That’s from Harold Bloom’s new Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?. It doesn’t matter how flawed Bloom’s recent books may be, he is still a smarter reader than just about anyone else. I buy his stuff on sight and gobble it up within twenty-four hours.
Another good Christmas gift is Richard Dawkin’s The Ancestor’s Tale, his most systematic treatment of evolution to date.