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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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Complicity and Catharsis: the Immature Criticism of Harry Berger

Complicity and Catharsis: the Immature Criticism of Harry Berger

(p.31) Chapter 3 Complicity and Catharsis: the Immature Criticism of Harry Berger
A Touch More Rare

Nina Levine

David Lee Miller

Fordham University Press

This chapter tells of the sudden, surprising friendship that springs up instantly between these two great opposites: “How Pantagruel met Panurge, whom he loved all his life” (“lequel il aima toute sa vie”). Berger can seem to be the trickster Panurge — pan ourgos — who speaks all languages but finally cannot get Pantagruel to read the truth of the body, but it would be more accurate to say that the two of them — these two great friends — come together to form a single figure resembling that of Harry Berger. For Berger is first and foremost a humanist and a moral thinker. As Peter Erickson points out in his introduction to Making Trifles of Terrors, “Berger is resolutely — some might same relentlessly — moral in his critical pursuits,” and he is also importantly the classicist, the reader of Plato, the scholar of myth and epic.

Keywords:   Harry Berger, Pantagruel, Panurge, pan ourgos, humanist, Peter Erickson, moral thinker, classicist

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