Study Guide

Stephen Greenblatt Files

Community Post from user SGreenblatt76: 10 Things Only Rock Star Academics and Pulitzer Prize-winning Renaissance Scholars Will Understand

  1. The struggle is real: waking up before dawn just to get your daily three pages written is rull hurrrrd…
  2. Nobody gets that Lucretius's story about atoms colliding randomly and working as a metaphor for giant "swerve-y" changes in history, as ideas collide then reshape, is really YOUR STORY. What is your life? It is change.
  3. ALWAYS buy that mysterious, random used book at the co-op on super-sale for 10 cents. It'll eventually make you bank.
  4. OMG. Not again: peeps seriously need to stop talking about "New Historicism" like it's one thing. Do we really need to label everything?
  5. On that note: New Historicism is a method (like a serious, rigorous, slow-moving research romp into the archives—digital and otherwise), not a doctrine or theory. You analyze whatever you want; you just do your homework first.
  6. People are always asking you if you've definitively figured out how to represent yourself and the text yet. Um, hello: no. Representation is fluid, complicated, and fraught with shifting senses of self, as well as with historical and cultural influences. Representation is always in flux—just like Lucretius's atoms.
  7. You squeal to yourself—okay, you squeal loudly, then shout to the entire room—when you've found the absolute perfect line in a plague pamphlet from the Renaissance period that talks about magic and witches... because it proves exactly what you want to argue about old-timey medical practices.
  8. You really do believe that everyone can get in on the show and dig around a little, doing their own research. You totally welcome reading-and-writing buddies.
  9. Your mom's lifelong fear of death is what ultimately drives you to connect with the past.
  10. You know that at the end of the day, it's all worth it, because you've given voice to centuries-old texts that would never have gotten any air time otherwise. The current generation deserves to hear what these old texts have to say.

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