William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English and of Visual and Environmental Studies Harvard University
In Loaded Words the inimitable literary and cultural critic Marjorie Garber invites readers to join her in a rigorous and exuberant exploration of language. What links the pieces included in this vibrant new collection is the author’s contention that all words are inescapably loaded—that is, highly charged, explosive, substantial, intoxicating, fruitful, and overbrimming—and that such loading is what makes language matter.
Garber casts her keen eye on terms from knowledge, belief, madness, interruption, genius, and celebrity to humanities, general education, and academia. Included here are an array of stirring essays, from the title piece, with its demonstration of the importance of language to our thinking about the world; to the superb “Mad Lib,” on the concept of madness from Mad magazine to debates between Foucault and Derrida; to pieces on Shakespeare, “the most culturally loaded name of our time,” and the Renaissance.
With its wide range of cultural references and engaging style coupled with fresh intellectual inquiry, Loaded Words will draw in and enchant scholars, students, and general readers alike.
“Self-styled ‘peripatetic writer,’ Harvard Shakespearean, and culture critic Garber collects loosely connected but fascinating essays on a range of themes.”
– Publishers Weekly
“A vigorous, revealing collection about the pleasures and revelations of close reading, whether it involves words, books, biographies, or ideas.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“Masterfully bridging the gap between high culture and low, Garber’s witty, accessible essays give us surprising angles on a host of topics.”
– Jonathan Culler, Cornell University
“There is no one writing today who can make the dizzying leaps from the lofty summits of the academy to the down-and-dirty life in the street with such wit, clarity, and originality as Marjorie Garber does. In her latest collection of essays, Loaded Words, she takes her show to the place where it began--with language itself. She reads the words of our culture in new and explosive ways and puts them back together again so that they're never quite the same.”
– Leonard Barkan, Princeton University
“Marjorie Garber has crafted an impressive career built upon words. Whether looking at the time-tested plays of Shakespeare or the ephemeral discourses of contemporary culture, she takes nothing about language for granted. Spirited master of both high and low, she compellingly demonstrates that the words we thought we knew are full of unexpected turns, shifts in meaning, and double dealings. This new collection of essays is at once vintage Garber and richly surprising.”