A Review of Harold Bloom’s Arcturus Sequel

Bloom’s disinherited work, A Flight to Lucifer, represents Bloom’s tribute to David Lindsay’s eerie masterpiece, A Voyage to Arcturus. Although the works are similar, it’s worth noting that there are substantial differences, suggesting Bloom wanted to separate himself from Lindsay’s  legacy and forge his own variation on Lindsay’s original work. Despite this, the work bears some easily recognizable similarities to Arcturus in its minimalism and cadences that resemble primitive cave paintings with words. Like Arcturus, it also sets up a philosophical dream-like sequence on a distant planet, replete with warring philosophies that faintly echo a Socratic debate. The center of the debate revolves around the Pleroma, a gnostic concept, and the characters’ efforts to find it among a maelstrom of Luciferan forces preventing it from manifesting. Some may not like this several act play of sorts in a bizarre, unholistic environment, since the utterances of the characters are difficult to decipher, but the arcane dialogue shifts so many directions in interesting and profound ways, each page requires multiple re-readings.

It was this sort of uncanny dialogue, not its minimalistic narration, that drove Lindsay’s Arcturus to success eventually after a failed start. It’s very nice in a way to see it recaptured in a slightly different way in Bloom’s follow-up.

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