Marjorie Garber

William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English and of Visual and Environmental Studies
Harvard University

Shakespeare and Modern Culture

Shakespeare and Modern Culture
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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” 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 the 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.”

Praise for

Shakespeare and Modern Culture

Garber’s reading is wonderful in its depth of insight ... A fierce devotion to Shakespeare shines forth from every page.

– The New York Times Book Review

Sharply incisive ... Garber merrily illustrates how modern culture can miss Shakespeare’s original points ... Her book credibly demonstrates that the ever-changing timeliness of Shakespeare’s thoughts is what makes them timeless.

– The New York Times

Garber’s approach is eclectic ... She is an inspiring reader.

– The New Yorker

[Garber is a] scholar and critic from whom we expect nothing but candor, insight, erudition, and even surprise. A brilliant, revelatory book.

– The Buffalo News