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Five Words Critical Semantics in the Age of Shakespeare and Cervantes

by Roland Greene

Five Words Critical Semantics in the Age of Shakespeare and Cervantes Synopsis

Blood. Invention. Language. Resistance. World. Five ordinary words that do a great deal of conceptual work in everyday life and literature. In this original experiment in critical semantics, Roland Greene considers how these five words changed over the course of the sixteenth century and what their changes indicate about broader forces in science, politics, and other disciplines. Greene discusses a broad swath of Renaissance and transatlantic literature - including Shakespeare, Cervantes, Camoes, and Milton - in terms of the development of these words rather than works, careers, or histories. He creates a method for describing and understanding the semantic changes that occur, extending his argument to other words that operate in the same manner. Aiming to shift the conversation around Renaissance literature from current approaches to riskier enterprises, Greene also challenges semantic-historicist scholars, proposing a method that takes advantage of digital resources like full-text databases but still depends on the interpreter to fashion ideas out of ordinary language. Five Words is an innovative and accessible book that points the field of literary studies in an exciting new direction.

Five Words Critical Semantics in the Age of Shakespeare and Cervantes Press Reviews

There is nothing like Five Words in current criticism. Grounded upon deep erudition, it represents a genuine breakthrough in critical methodology, conceptual history, and the social and cultural task of locating literature among the other discourses. Roland Greene's efforts to relate and interrelate the implications of the 'five words' shape an overarching argument about critical semantics that will have great impact upon the entire field of literary study. (William Kennedy, Cornell University)

Book Information

ISBN: 9780226000633
Publication date: 2nd July 2013
Author: Roland Greene
Publisher: University of Chicago Press an imprint of The University of Chicago Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 224 pages
Categories: Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800,

About Roland Greene

Roland Greene is the Mark Pigott OBE Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University. His most recent book, Unrequited Conquests: Love and Empire in the Colonial Americas, is also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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