In recent years, Garber, a professor at Harvard, has attracted notice with offbeat work about such subjects as dogs and cross-dressing, but this book—a collection of her lectures on each of Shakespeare's plays—marks a return to the core curriculum. Garber is appealingly undogmatic, deploying insights from textual scholarship, post-colonial theory, and Elizabethan stage history, without being beholden to any single approach. Although she has no blockbuster Bard thesis to prove, her introduction is an exemplary account of what is known about Shakespeare and how his work has been read and regarded through the centuries, while the individual essays display scrupulous and subtle close reading. It is well known that Romeo and Juliet's first lines to each other form a sonnet, but Garber adds that it reverses the Petrarchan tradition of unrequited love: it is "a sonnet that works. It results in a kiss."
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
Remember the last time you read a work of literary criticism and actually understood it? The tide has changed with Shakespeare After All
. Forgoing cultural studies jargon for an eclectic approach that draws from gender studies, post-colonial theory, and Elizabethan stage history, Garber focuses on close, erudite readings of the Bards work. Comparing her tome to Harold Blooms Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human
(1998), critics agree that Garber is more readable and enjoyable; Stephen Greenblatts Will in the World
(**** Nov/Dec 2004) will give her a run for the money, however. A few reviewers wondered why Garber omitted discussion of Shakespeares sonnets and poems; others criticized the books significant length. Yet, until "somebody even smarter than Garber comes along with a 1,200-pager, this is the indispensable introduction to the indispensable writer" (Newsweek
).Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.