January 21, 2011                                                     
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Harvard University professor Stephen Greenblatt, this year’s John Woodruff Simpson Lecturer at Amherst College and world-renowned scholar of Renaissance literature, will discuss the discovery of an ancient manuscript that “set the world on a new course” in a lecture titled “The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began” at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28, in Cole Assembly Room of Amherst’s Converse Hall. His lecture is free and open to the public.

Greenblatt is Cogan University Professor of English and American Literature and Language at Harvard. He is general editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Eighth Edition, and also the author of several books, including Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare; Hamlet in Purgatory; and Learning to Curse: Essays in Early Modern Culture, among others. He has edited six collections of criticism, is the co-author (with Charles Mee) of the play Cardenio and is a founding co-editor of the journal Representations. His honors include the Modern Language Association’s James Russell Lowell Prize, for Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England; the Distinguished Humanist Award from the Mellon Foundation; and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Greenblatt is considered the father of the “new historicism” school of literary criticism, which concentrates on understanding works of literature within their historical, social and anthropological contexts. At Harvard he has taught Renaissance literature, Shakespeare and new historicism, as well as the undergraduate survey course on major British writers.