The literary adventures of Stephen Greenblatt

L'Harvard Gazette intervista Stephen Greenblatt, professore di inglese a Harvard. 

Q: Tell me about your boyhood. What might have put you on your path to being a scholar?

A: One constant theme in my whole life is a fascination, somewhat compulsive fascination, with the power of stories. Anyone who works on the kinds of things I do must, I imagine, have something of the same compulsion. For me, as for most everyone else, the sense that stories are powerful and important has its origin at home, that is, locally and intimately. In different ways both my mother and father were storytellers — my mother quietly and rather shyly; my father in a much more florid, performative way. When we walked to his law office in Boston, it was very difficult to get up or down State Street in a reasonable amount of time because he would constantly run into people and they would immediately begin to trade stories — this being Boston in the 1950s they were largely ethnic stories, often with punch lines I did not understand.
I grew up with the rhythms of these stories in my ears, and on my mother’s side more intimate stories, made up specially for me, and in which I figured as a character. If I were to ask myself, why have I thought my whole life that stories are an enormously powerful way of conveying things that are most important to a human being, it must be this peculiar inculcation in the family and home. harvardgazette.

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