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April 23, 2007

Where's my prize?

Greenblatt, ''Culture'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"An awareness of culture as a complex whole can help us to recover that sense by leading us to reconstruct the boundaries upon whose existence the works were predicated." (437)
We are always tempted to apply our own motives and morals to interpreting a work and Greenblatt explains the importance of understanding the culture first, so that we know the limits and the norms of the culture. I liked the examples of "cool silence" and "glittering prizes" as the "disciplinarian techniques" of a culture. We determine what's acceptable or not just by making a certain gesture. In other cultures, that may not be understood or respected. Dane Cook once asked, who came up with the idea that the middle finger meant exploitave/deleted, did they try saying "suck my back" and realize it wasn't as cool? (something like that don't hold me to it) Thus, in cultural criticisms, we will be less inclined to really give the work a fighting chance when it is completely culturally obscure, but if we're good critics, we'll use Greensblatt's 6 questions and perhaps refrain from chucking the book from a moving car.

Posted by ErinWaite at April 23, 2007 12:33 PM


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