Stephen Greenblatt Wins Holberg Prize



Scholar and author Stephen Greenblatt has been named the winner of the 2016 Holberg Prize, the largest international prize awarded annually to an outstanding researcher in the arts and humanities, social science, law, or theology. The award, first established in 2003 by the Norwegian Parliament, will be bestowed at a ceremony at the University of Bergen, Norway, on June 6, and carries a purse of 4.5 million kroner, approximately $531,000.

Professor Greenblatt is the author of more than a dozen books, including the bestseller Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare and the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, both published by Norton. He is also general editor of The Norton Shakespeare and The Norton Anthology of English Literature. He is John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University and is considered one of the world's leading authorities on Shakespearean literature as well as a founder of the field of literary scholarship known as New Historicism.

In announcing the award, Dr. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, chair of the Holberg Academic Committee, remarked, "Greenblatt's work has brilliantly opened up new ways to think about the Renaissance and Shakespeare. In doing so he has also provided us a vocabulary through which we can approach the task of understanding our times and history. The new methods he has fashioned have helped us understand the relationship between the word and the world, the text and the context. Greenblatt has also masterfully combined the practice of exacting scholarship with an ability to communicate with wider audiences."

The Holberg Prize takes its name from Ludvig Holberg, a writer, essayist, philosopher, historian, and playwright born in Bergen, Norway, in 1684, who played an important role in bringing the Enlightenment to Nordic countries. It is fitting that this year's award goes to a scholar whose books, particularly The Swerve, has revealed how a work of literature sparked enlightened ideas that swept through Europe and set us on a path toward the present.