Naomi Wolf has eased the burden of silence she has been carrying for over 20 years. In New York magazine she reveals that one evening after a dinner party, when she was a Yale undergraduate, Professor Harold Bloom of Yale placed his ‘heavy, boneless hand hot’ on her thigh. After she repelled the advance, if it was an advance, Mr Bloom took his bottle, proclaimed his innocence — or so I take it — by saying ‘You are a deeply troubled girl’, and left.
But for me, it awakened a more intimate memory. I was 27, a postgraduate student at Yale in my last term, and then, as now, a man. Unlike Naomi Wolf, I needed nothing from Prof. Bloom. I was destined for a first teaching job at Boston University. I even had an official appointment at Yale (in Yale’s exquisitely calibrated taxonomy of humiliation) as Part-Time Acting Assistant Instructor of English.