The Holberg Prize 2016 Episode with Stephen Greenblatt: Everyone Dreams at Night

Sir John Gilbert's 1849 painting: The Plays of William Shakespeare, containing scenes and characters from several of William Shakespeare's plays.

Sir John Gilbert's 1849 painting: The Plays of William Shakespeare, containing scenes and characters from several of William Shakespeare's plays.

The Holberg Prize 2016 Laureate, Professor Stephen Greenblatt. Photo: Stephanie Mitchell

The Holberg Prize 2016 Laureate, Professor Stephen Greenblatt. Photo: Stephanie Mitchell

The Holberg Prize for 2016 goes to professor Stephen Greenblatt (b. 1943). Greenblatt is a reknowed literary critic, Shakespearian and a best selling author. His main contributions has been within Sharespeare-studies and English Literature, and is perhaps best know for having initiated the New Historicism approach. This approach, which we now perhaps take for granted, promoted the idea that literature should be studied in it’s social, cultural and institutional contexts. This challenged a field in which works of literature was studied as autonomous aesthetic texts. Greenblatt is currently a John Cogan University Professor of the humanities at Harvard University and the editor of The Norton Shakespeare.

In this interview Knut talks with professor Greenblatt about his upbringing, how he ventured into the academy and Shakespeare studies, a bit about american politics and the role of literature studies, and what’s next.

This episode was produced in collaboration with The Holberg Prize 2016. The Holberg Prize is awarded annually to scholars who have made outstanding contributions to research in the arts and humanities, social science, law or theology. The Prize amounts to 4.5 million NOK (app. 538.000 EUR / 735.000 USD). Visit the website to learn more.