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A Touch More RareHarry Berger, Jr., and the Arts of Interpretation$
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Nina Levine and David Lee Miller

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780823230303

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823230303.001.0001

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Harry Berger's Intellectual Community

Harry Berger's Intellectual Community

Chapter:
(p.264) Chapter 19 Harry Berger's Intellectual Community
Source:
A Touch More Rare
Author(s):

Nina Levine

David Lee Miller

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823230303.003.0020

A Berger essay will often contain its share of citation en passant, tips of the hat here or there — but what is distinctive is his regular habit of stopping to give someone else's position a careful hearing, unfolding its claims, quoting key passages, and then patiently describing how he intends to transmute what he has found. Harry is well aware of the analogy between the courtly community he studies and the critical community he convenes. Finally, at the heart of The Absence of Grace is what Harry calls a “paradigmatic move in literary interpretation.” The best works of literature are the ones that teach us the double-mindedness we need to be conversable with one another, that teach us to treat our own words as having the kind of difference from us.

Keywords:   Harry Berger, critical community, The Absence of Grace, paradigmatic move, literary interpretation

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