Quotation Marks

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Written with characteristic verve, Quotation Marks considers, among other subjects, how we depend upon the most quotable men and women in history, using great writers to bolster what we ourselves have to say. The entertaining turns and reversals of Marjorie Garber's arguments offer the rare pleasure of a true essayist.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Garber (Sex and Real Estate), "a Shakespearean by training and a critic of contemporary culture by predilection," offers an eclectic collection of scholarly essays on the power and importance of language. She examines the moments when language breaks down, leading to dissension and conflict, and insists that "no matter how unexpected its authorities, how multiple and contradictory its associations, and how circuitous its path to meaning," language must be taken seriously. The 14 essays move freely between the most insipid aspects of modern culture (like the obsession with Monica Lewinsky's lip gloss) and the Big Questions of `Who am I?' and `What am I doing here?' In "Vegetable Love," for example, Garber looks at paintings of vegetables to show how they convey sexuality. The analysis is light-hearted and witty ("These peppers are having a good time"), but Garber ultimately treats the issue as profoundly political, because, she argues, how we read sex and gender is one of the key steps for changing social ideas. In "The Jane Austen Syndrome" she celebrates Austen's presence in modern culture but laments the increasingly minor place her novels have in the larger scheme of things. And, in the final essay, she urges humanists to write openly about "human nature" and defends the aesthetic, interpretive, philosophical and intellectual activities of the humanities. Garber's style is rather schizophrenic, at times hilariously funny and based in personal narrative, at other times profoundly serious and firmly entrenched in the thorny jargon of Derrida, Barthes and other theorists. The book does not always answer its most pressing questions, but it's a useful prod to other critics who just might take them up. 8 pages of color illus. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
The nature of quotations, fashion, work, sequels, sexuality, the abbreviation Ms., Monica Lewinsky, textural editing in Shakespeare, literature, and human nature are all discussed in this widely varied group of essays by Garber (English, Harvard; Sex and Real Estate). Garber is especially discerning in her exploration of the media's failure to discuss Lewinsky's Jewishness, paintings of vegetables and their sexual symbolism, and the relationship between literary criticism and cultural studies, and her close reading of Shakespeare includes a fine understanding of how editing has continually adapted the meaning of the literature for each generation. Exploring the worlds of literature, language, and history and proving open to contemporary experience, she invites the reader to appreciate the complexity of modern life. Garber's evenhanded, friendly tone makes this an erudite and absorbing introduction to the art of the essay and present-day literary thought. Recommended for literature collections.-Gene Shaw, NYPL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415937467
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/5/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Marjorie Garber is Willam R Kenan Jr Professor of English and Director of the Humanities Center at Harvard. Her books Symptoms of Culture, Vested Interests, and Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life are available in paperback from Routledge. Her most recent books are Sex and Real Estate and Academic Instincts.

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Table of Contents

Preface 1
1 " "(Quotation Marks) 7
2 Fashionable 33
3 Try-Works 47
4 Make-Work 59
5 Sequels 73
6 Vegetable Love 83
7 A Case of Mstaken Identity 105
8 Moniker 121
9 MacGuffin Shakespeare 147
10 Historical Correctness 177
11 The Jane Austen Syndrome 199
12 Fatal Cleopatra 211
13 Compassion 231
14 Who Owns "Human Nature"? 243
Notes 273
Index 297
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2002

    Garber = Genius

    No doubt about it, Quotation Marks is a brilliant collection of essays, written by the queen of culture, Marjorie Garber.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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