Stephen Greenblatt

Literary Birthday – 7 November – Stephen Greenblatt

Happy Birthday, Stephen Greenblatt, born 7 November  1943.


  1. The first and perhaps the most important requirement for a successful writing performance – and writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig – is to understand the nature of the occasion.
  2. Through reading literature we can make ghosts speak to us, and we can speak back to them.
  3. I believe in broken, fractured, complicated narratives, but I believe in narratives as a vehicle for truth, not simply as a form of entertainment, though I love entertainment, but also a way of conveying what needs to be conveyed about the works that I care about.
  4. Poems are difficult to silence.
  5. What I wanted to do was to get that sense of being in touch with this lost world while holding onto what draws readers and audiences there in the first place.
  6. The exercise of reason is not available only to specialists; it is accessible to everyone.

Stephen Greenblatt is an American scholar, historian, and author. He is credited with establishing New Historicism as the dominant mode of Anglo-American literary analysis. He is well-known for his analyses of William Shakespeare’s works. He has served as the John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University since 2000. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1987) and the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2008). He is the author of thirteen books, including The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve; The Swerve: How the World Became Modern; and Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare. Visit

Source for image

Bachrach, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Source for quotes

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 6th November 2019