Defining the Indefinable: The Vocabulary of Greenblatt’s “Culture”

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This entry is meant to provide a reference for words which may or may not have confused readers in Stephen Greenblatt’s essay, “Culture.”  As you read the definitions of any of these words, keep in mind that this is new historicism (which is influenced by poststructuralism) and therefore all definition are, of course, relative.  All definitions are made up of other words that are made of words in a never ending circle of ambiguity of meaning.  Furthermore, as this is new historicism, it is important to remember that the meaning of words changes over time and differs from place to place.  The words on my list appear in the order in which they were used in the article.  Bearing those things in mind, here they are:

  • Constraint (this definition is actually for constraining, but the page for constraint directs you to the page for constraining).
  • Satire (You can also check Hamilton out for this one, see pages 21-24).
  • Improvisation (similar to constraint, this link is actually to improvising).

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