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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 and Self-Hatred

Harry Berger and Self-Hatred

(p.23) Chapter 2 Harry Berger and Self-Hatred
A Touch More Rare

Nina Levine

David Lee Miller

Fordham University Press

It is not easy to describe the register of Harry Berger's critical writing. The work is enthusiastic but plainspoken — the work of a “dry light;” it is deeply skeptical but never cynical, relentlessly ironic yet always with a sense of the charity of irony. The criticism is pragmatic in its local attentions to particular works, scenes, and characters, yet driven by preoccupations whose sources are often mysterious. Berger writes that he prefers the term “self-representation” to “self-fashioning” because for him the former speaks to the self's implication in images or voices that expose it to doubts and differences both outside and inside the self. Reading Berger's work, one feels a vigilance, a struggle to bear and decipher a mystery, which belongs to a particular agent or worker in the field.

Keywords:   Harry Berger, plainspoken, enthusiastic, self-representation, self-fashioning, critical writing, criticism

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