Garber to explore Shakespeare’s impact on modern culture

Shakespearean scholar and cultural critic Marjorie Garber will present the Helen Clanton Morrin Lecture at 4 p.m. Feb. 23 in Edison Theatre. Her talk, “Bartlett’s Familiar Shakespeare: The Pleasures and Pitfalls of Quotations,” will focus on the great bard’s influence on modern life.

Garber’s visit will coincide with the University’s annual Shakespeare production. This year’s play is Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Henry I. Schvey, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Performing Arts Department in Arts & Sciences.

Marjorie Garber
Marjorie Garber

Shakespeare is a familiar acquaintance for Garber; she has authored four books devoted to his body of work.

Her most recent book, Shakespeare After All, is an ambitious study that makes Shakespeare more accessible to the common reader. This comprehensive critical guide to all 38 plays was chosen by Newsweek as one of the 10 best nonfiction books of 2004 and received the 2005 Christian Gauss Book Award from Phi Beta Kappa.

Garber uses themes from across the spectrum of cultural studies, such as gender studies, post-colonial theory, and Elizabethan stage history, to help her readers connect with Shakespeare’s plays.

She writes, “What is often described as the timelessness of Shakespeare, the transcendent qualities for which his plays have been praised around the world and across the centuries, is perhaps better understood as an uncanny timeliness, a capacity to speak directly to circumstances the playwright could not have anticipated or foreseen.”

Garber is known for her eclectic approach to modern cultural topics. She has written 12 books, many of which focus on cultural theory and cover such diverse topics as Vice Versa: Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life, Sex and Real Estate: Why We Love Houses and Dog Love. Her methods are unorthodox, jumping from one idea to another, liberally using pun and wordplay in her cultural analyses.

Garber serves in a number of professional capacities at Harvard University. She is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English and American Literature and Language and of Visual and Environmental Studies. She also chairs the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies and directs the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts.

In addition to the Assembly Series, Garber’s lecture is sponsored by the PAD, The Center for the Humanities, the Comparative Literature Program and the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities, all in Arts & Sciences.

The talk is free and open to the public. For more information, call 935-4620 or go online to