Shakespeare and Modern Culture

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Pantheon Books, 2008 - Literary Criticism - 326 pages
3 Reviews
From one of the world’s premier Shakespeare scholars, author of Shakespeare After All (“the indispensable introduction to the indispensable writer”–Newsweek): a magisterial new study whose premise is “that Shakespeare makes modern culture and that modern culture makes Shakespeare.”

Shakespeare has determined many of the ideas that we think of as “naturally” our own and even as “naturally” true–ideas about human character, individuality and selfhood, government, leadership, love and jealousy, men and women, youth and age. Yet many of these ideas, timely as ever, have been reimagined–are indeed often now first encountered–not only in modern fiction, theater, film, and the news but also in the literature of psychology, sociology, political theory, business, medicine, and law.

Marjorie Garber delves into ten plays to explore the interrelationships between Shakespeare and twentieth century and contemporary culture–from James Joyce’s Ulysses to George W. Bush’s reading list. In The Merchant of Venice, she looks at the question of intention; in Hamlet, the matter of character; in King Lear, the dream of sublimity; in Othello, the persistence of difference; and in Macbeth, the necessity of interpretation. She discusses the conundrum of man in The Tempest; the quest for exemplarity in Henry V; the problem of fact in Richard III; the estrangement of self in Coriolanus; and the untimeliness of youth in Romeo and Juliet.

Shakespeare and Modern Culture is a tour de force reimagining of our own mental and emotional landscape as refracted through the prism of protean “Shakespeare.”

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User Review  - jen.e.moore - LibraryThing

I enjoyed this quite a bit, but I don't really know what the point of it was in the end. Some chapters are largely about the way people talk about Shakespeare plays with almost no relationship with ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rivkat - LibraryThing

The chapters are pure Marjorie Garber, intelligent and widely read and wide-ranging. If you’re looking for a coherent thesis about any of the plays, methodically explored, you won’t find it here, but ... Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Marjorie Garber is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English and American Literature and Language, and Chair of the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. Shakespeare After All was named one of the five best nonfiction books of 2004 by Newsweek and received the 2005 Christian Gauss Book Award from the Phi Beta Kappa Society. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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