Stephen Greenblatt

American literary critic, theorist and scholar

Stephen Greenblatt (born November 7, 1943) is an American Shakespearean, literary historian, and author.


  • Ever since I was quite young I’ve been fascinated by the idea that something would hit you — not just that you would find something, but that something would find you. [1]
  • ...Politicians are always invoking providence. Politicians are forced in America to behave as the political equivalent of those baseball players who hit home runs and run around, waving their hands up to heaven as if God was actually worrying about whether they were going to hit a home run or not, helping one team rather than the other! It’s a fantastic idea, but it’s somehow part of our popular culture and our politicians pay lip service to the same notion. [2]
  • Things change profoundly in the church after Luther. The church becomes much more embattled. It makes some attempts at internal reform. But it also makes very vigorous attempts to silence dissent. With some exceptions — I’m no historian of the Catholic church — but it seems to me that the church has never entirely, as it were, come out from the other side on the Council of Trent. It’s not an accident that the current Pope was the head of the [Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith], the ideological wing of the church [that led the inquisition]. [3]
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