Stephen Greenblatt '64 wins Norway's Holberg Prize
The New York Times
March 11, 2016
Stephen Greenblatt, the Harvard literary scholar best known for his studies of Shakespeare, has won Norway’s 4.5-million kroner (about $531,000) Holberg Prize, which is awarded annually to scholars who have made outstanding contributions to research in the arts, humanities, the social sciences, law, or theology.
In the announcement, the awards committee cited Mr. Greenblatt’s “distinctive and defining role in the field of literature and his influential voice in the humanities over four decades.” Mr. Greenblatt is widely seen as the founder of the school of literary studies known as New Historicism, which seeks to understand works of art through study of their historical context, and in turn to use works of art to understand broader intellectual history.
Mr. Greenblatt’s more than a dozen books include the best-selling biography Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, and The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, a study of the 15th-century rediscovery of the ancient Roman poet Lucretius, which won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction. He is also the general editor of The Norton Shakespeare and The Norton Anthology of English Literature.
In a statement Mr. Greenblatt described his lifelong goal as “opening literary studies to the historical, cultural and, in the broadest sense, anthropological energies that course through great works of art.” He is currently working on a book about the story of Adam and Eve.