Humanities Moments

On the Anxiety of Influence

Contributed by William Leuchtenburg, William Rand Kenan Jr. professor emeritus of history, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry,” by Harold Bloom

In this account, William Leuchtenburg shares the story of a seemingly routine exchange with literary scholars in the late 1970s which spurred him to new insights about the ways iconic figures from the past influence those who succeed them, whether they be poets, or composers, or U.S. presidents. Eventually, he would share these insights in his major work on presidential legacies, In The Shadow of FDR.

Already an accomplished political historian at the time of this moment, Leuchtenburg demonstrates how the questions and ways of seeing in other humanities fields led him to analogous realizations about his own research.

Title

On the Anxiety of Influence

Description

In this account, William Leuchtenburg shares the story of a seemingly routine exchange with literary scholars in the late 1970s which spurred him to new insights about the ways iconic figures from the past influence those who succeed them, whether they be poets, or composers, or U.S. presidents. Eventually, he would share these insights in his major work on presidential legacies, In The Shadow of FDR.

Already an accomplished political historian at the time of this moment, Leuchtenburg demonstrates how the questions and ways of seeing in other humanities fields led him to analogous realizations about his own research.

Date

1980

Contributor

William Leuchtenburg, William Rand Kenan Jr. professor emeritus of history, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Identifier

william-leuchtenburg-anxiety-of-influence

Location

Collection