Harry Berger, Jr., has long been one of our most revered and respected literary and cultural critics. Since the late nineties, a stream of remarkable and innovative publications have shown how very broad his interests are, moving from Shakespeare to baroque painting, to Plato, to theories of early culture.
In this volume a distinguished group of scholars gathers to celebrate the work of Harry Berger, Jr. To "celebrate," in Berger's words, is "to visit something either in great numbers or else frequently-to go away and come back, go away and come back, go away and come back. Celebrating is what you do the second or third time around, but not the first. To celebrate is to revisit. To revisit is to revise. Celebration is the eureka of revision." Not only former students but distinguished colleagues and scholars come together in these pages to discover Berger's eurekas-to revisit the rigor and originality of his criticism, and occasionally to revise its conclusions, all through the joy of strenuous engagement.
Nineteen essays on Berger's Shakespeare, his Spenser, his Plato, and his Rembrandt, on his theories of interpretation and cultural change and on the ethos of his critical and pedagogical styles, open new approaches to the astonishing ongoing body of work authored by Berger.
An introduction by the editors and an afterword by Berger himself place this festival of interpretation in the context of Berger's intellectual development and the reception of his work from the mid-twentieth century into the first decade of the twenty-first.
Nina Levine is Associate Professor of English at the University of South Carolina. David Lee Miller is Carolina Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of South Carolina, where he directs the Center for Digital Humanities. He is the author of two books, The Poem's Two Bodies: The Poetics of the 1590 Faerie Queene (1988) and Dreams of the Burning Child: Sacrificial Sons and the Father's Witness (2003) and has coedited four collections, including A Touch More Rare: Harry Berger Jr. and the Arts of Interpretation (2009), with Nina Levine. His current project, with four other general editors, is a new Collected Works of Edmund Spenser in preparation for Oxford University Press.