Tom Lutz asserts that Harold Bloom (along with Francine Prose) believes the current generation of politicized literary scholars (what Bloom terms the "school of resentment") "are all looking at something besides the text itself, by which they mean a book that is read without theory, without reference to other values, and without mediation of any kind."
Lutz associates this view that we should return to "the text" with New Criticism, but nowhere in his essay does he reveal (if he knows) that Bloom was actually hostile to New Criticism. He considered its approach so limiting and so dismissive (in the practice of most of the New Critics, at least) of the Romantic poets, whose work Bloom so loves, that he deliberately designed his own theory of poetic influence as a corrective, if not an outright rejection, of New Critical biases. Lutz goes on to associate both Bloom and New Criticism with such disparate figures as Mortimer Adler, E.D. Hirsch, and John Sutherland, simply because they appear to endorse the idea that learning to appreciate the "text itself" is an important part of literary education.
In a move apparently intended to show that Bloom doesn't practice what he preaches (or doesn't understand the foundation of his own practice), Lutz cites H. L. Mencken's witless attacks on "The New Criticism" (as delineated by J. E. Springarn in 1911), which putatively show that academic criticism is inherently theoretical, "criticism of criticism of criticism." But again, since Bloom is/was not a New Critic, it's hard to see how this undermines Bloom's own approach to the "text itself." The New Critics did indeed have a "theory" of the literary text as something dynamic and inherently dramatic (and reading as the experience of the text's dynamism), but it is not Bloom's, however much he might accept the underlying emphasis on the integrity of the literary text, free of the demands made on it by those with their own personal and political investments.
But of course Bloom does have a theory. No one who remembers the scholarly debates of the 1970s and 1980s could think otherwise, as Bloom played a major role in these debates precisely as a theorist of literature, a proponent of the Freudian notion of the "anxiety of influence." Far from being considered a conventional formalist, someone who believed a text should be read "without mediation of any kind," Bloom was taken as a radical, even a postmodernist, a critic who was taking literary study away from its proper focus on the "text itself" into very a-textual speculations about the role of poetic influence and its rather violent Freudian implications. Anyone who's read and taken seriously books such as The Anxiety of Influence, A Map of Misreading, Kabbalah and Criticism, and Agon would know that the accusation Bloom is some kind of retrograde enemy of "theory" is ridiculous on its face.
Thus, at least as far as Bloom is concerned, Lutz's invocation of his name as one of those who demands a book be read "without theory, without reference to other values, and without mediation of any kind" is simply incorrect. This is not a matter of interpretation. Some investigation of Bloom's work, even of secondary explications of that work (a simple Google search, perhaps) would immediately reveal that Lutz's account is a caricature of the role Bloom has come to play in current literary discourse (the aging curmudgeon) but has nothing to do with what he's actually written. Even a book such as How to Read and Why, a deliberate simplification of Bloom's ideas about the value of literature, reveals that he does not hold the naive view of reading Lutz attributes to him.
Unfortunately, the caricature of Bloom is widely accepted. Just recently Sandra at Bookworld (otherwise a nice, thoughful litblog) opined that she had contracted "Bloom Syndrome," a "condition in which the sufferer is unable to read any work of literature unless it is deemed Significant by Harold Bloom and which often results in the reader losing the will to live/read, crushed under the weight of canonical imperatives." To the sin of thinking that the "text itself" is what literature is all about (and in Bloom's case looking to account for the text by emphasizing the writer's confrontation with his predecessors, an emphasis that highlights the continuity-through-conflict of literature) is added the annoying belief that the literary tradition is meaningful and worthwhile, that "some books are better than others." It's telling that in our culture someone who becomes associated with beliefs such as these is lampooned as a pathetic fogey who apparently thinks those old books are important or something.