What is genius? It is the trait, says Harold Bloom, of standing both of and above an age, the ancient principle that recognizes and hallows the God within us, and the gift of breathing life into what is best in every living person. Now, in a monumental achievement of scholarship, America''s preeminent literary critic presents an unprecedented celebration of one hundred of the most creative literary minds in history. From the Bible to Socrates, through the transcendent masterpieces of Shakespeare and Dante, down through the ages to Hemingway, Faulkner, and Ralph Ellison, Harold Bloom explores the many parallels among his chosen geniuses and the surprising ways in which they have influenced one another over the centuries. Accompanied by revealing excerpts from their works that continue to astonish, enchant, and move readers, Bloom''s insightful and spirited analyses illuminate and enlarge our common understanding of Western literary and spiritual culture...and offer us a grand yet intimate tour of it in one magnificent volume.