Chapter

Complicity and Catharsis: the Immature Criticism of Harry Berger

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823230303.003.0004
Complicity and Catharsis: the Immature Criticism of Harry Berger

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This chapter tells of the sudden, surprising friendship that springs up instantly between these two great opposites: “How Pantagruel met Panurge, whom he loved all his life” (“lequel il aima toute sa vie”). Berger can seem to be the trickster Panurge — pan ourgos — who speaks all languages but finally cannot get Pantagruel to read the truth of the body, but it would be more accurate to say that the two of them — these two great friends — come together to form a single figure resembling that of Harry Berger. For Berger is first and foremost a humanist and a moral thinker. As Peter Erickson points out in his introduction to Making Trifles of Terrors, “Berger is resolutely — some might same relentlessly — moral in his critical pursuits,” and he is also importantly the classicist, the reader of Plato, the scholar of myth and epic.

Keywords: Harry Berger; Pantagruel; Panurge; pan ourgos; humanist; Peter Erickson; moral thinker; classicist

Chapter.  6114 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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