Allan Bloom

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Allan David Bloom (September 14, 1930 – October 7, 1992) was an American philosopher, classicist, and academic. He studied under David Grene, Leo Strauss, Richard McKeon and Alexandre Kojève. He subsequently taught at Cornell University, the University of Toronto, Yale University, École Normale Supérieure of Paris, and the University of Chicago. Bloom championed the idea of 'Great Books' education. Bloom 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.[1] Although Bloom was characterized as a conservative in the popular media, Bloom explicitly stated that this was a misunderstanding, and made it clear that he was not to be affiliated with any conservative movements.[2] Saul Bellow wrote Ravelstein, a roman à clef based on Bloom, his friend and teaching partner at the University of Chicago.

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Early life and education

Allan Bloom was born Indianapolis, Indiana in 1930 to Jewish social-worker parents. The couple had a daughter, Lucille, in 1928. The birth of Allan, two years later, completed the family group. As a thirteen-year-old, he read a Readers 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.[3] 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.[3] This began his life-long passion for the 'idea' of the university.[4]

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