Pros and Cons of Cultured Literature

Culture, Greenblatt

Literary Criticism--EL312

Greenblatt's issue with culture and its affects of literature is really a "Catch-22" if you think about it. Even though culture can be used to build up a wonderful story, Greeblatt states that:

... if an exploration of a particular culture will lead to a heightened understanding of a work of literature produced within that culture, so too a careful reading of a work of literature will lead to a heightened understanding of the culture within which it was produced.

Culture not exactly the it thing in literary text. Any of the criticism that we learn can basically help us in an understanding in the text. However, we can't count cultured literature out. If we look at most of the text we read, the authors did not invent that particular story that they wrote. I don't mean to break anyone's heart, but "despite our romantic cult of originality, most artists are themselves gifted creators of variations upon received themes".

Just look at the examples that Greenblatt gave us with Shakespeare's use of the historical event of New World exploration to The Tempest. And maybe others, Bram Stoker's Dracula to the legends of Vlad the Impaler. All of the text we know and love today to Grape of Wrath to Harry Potter have influence and been inflenced in some way or another. Even though we can't be held hostage to what is "in", we can used this information to get in tuned with the characters.