Stephen Greenblatt argued in these celebrated essays that the art of the Renaissance could only be understood in the context of the society from which it sprang. His approach - 'New Historicism' - drew from history, anthropology, Marxist theory, post-structuralism, and psychoanalysis and in the process, blew apart the academic boundaries insulating literature from the world around it.
Learning to Curse charts the evolution of that approach and provides a vivid and compelling exploration of a complex and contradictory epoch.
Stephen J. Greenblatt, the pioneer of the "new historicist" approach to literature, is currently John Cogan Professor of Humanities at Harvard University and the author of the recent bestselling life of Shakespeare, Will in the World.
1. Introduction 2. Learning to Curse: Aspects of Linguistic Colonialism in the Sixteenth Century 3. Marlowe, Marx and Anti-Semitism 4. Filthy Rites 5. The Cultivation of Anxiety: King Lear and His Heirs 6. Murdering Peasants: Status, Genre, and the Representation of Rebellion 7. Psychoanalysis and Renaissance Culture 8. Towards a Poetics of Culture 9. Resonance and Wonder Index