Harry Berger and Self-Hatred

Nina Levine and David Lee Miller

in A Touch More Rare

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230303
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241071 | DOI:
Harry Berger and Self-Hatred

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  • Literary Theory and Cultural Studies


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It is not easy to describe the register of Harry Berger's critical writing. The work is enthusiastic but plainspoken — the work of a “dry light;” it is deeply skeptical but never cynical, relentlessly ironic yet always with a sense of the charity of irony. The criticism is pragmatic in its local attentions to particular works, scenes, and characters, yet driven by preoccupations whose sources are often mysterious. Berger writes that he prefers the term “self-representation” to “self-fashioning” because for him the former speaks to the self's implication in images or voices that expose it to doubts and differences both outside and inside the self. Reading Berger's work, one feels a vigilance, a struggle to bear and decipher a mystery, which belongs to a particular agent or worker in the field.

Keywords: Harry Berger; plainspoken; enthusiastic; self-representation; self-fashioning; critical writing; criticism

Chapter.  3702 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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