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The Greenblatt Reader by Michael Payne

By Michael Payne

Number of Stephen Greenblatt's paintings

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The Greenblatt Reader

Collection of Stephen Greenblatt's paintings

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D. Nakhimovsky and A. S. Nakhimovsky (Cornell: Cornell University Press, 1985). N. Mailer, The Executioner’s Song (New York: Warner Books, 1979). Introduction to Jack Henry Abbott, In the Belly of the Beast: Letters from Prison (New York: Random House, 1981), p. xviii. Michael Baxandall, ‘‘Art, Society, and the Bouger Principle,’’ Representations, 12 (1985), 40–1. All in The Aims of Representation. ’’1 Small wonder then that Geertz’s account of the project of social science rebounded with force upon literary critics like us in the mid-1970s: it made sense of something we were already doing, returning our own professional skills to us as more important, more vital and illuminating, than we had ourselves grasped.

For it is precisely not as a fiction or as a little philosopher’s tale that Geertz invites us to read his anecdote; it is as a ‘‘raw’’ sample of his field notes. The frame is crucial, since in this case it helps us to conjure up a ‘‘real’’ as opposed to an ‘‘imaginary’’ world. the touch of the real 37 Geertz’s conjuring of the real seemed to us useful for literary studies not because it insisted upon the primacy of interpretation – that was already the norm in literary criticism – but because it helped to widen the range of imaginative constructions to be interpreted.

257–73. Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1981), p. 20. towards a poetics of culture 3 4 5 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 29 See Mark Poster, ‘‘Foucault, Poststructuralism, and the Mode of Information,’’ in The Aims of Representation. Jameson himself does not directly account for the sudden reversal in his thinking; he suggests rather that it is not his thinking that has changed but capitalism itself. Following Ernest Mandel, he suggests that we have moved into late capitalism, and in this state cultural production and consumption operate by wholly different rules.

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