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Marjorie Garber  

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

Marjorie Garber is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English and Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University, and Chair of the Committee on Dramatic Arts. She has published seventeen books and edited seven collections of essays on topics from Shakespeare to literary and cultural theory to the arts and intellectual life. Newsweek magazine chose Shakespeare After All as one of the five best nonfiction books of 2004, and praised it as the "indispensable introduction to an indispensable writer ... Garber's is the most exhilarating seminar room you'll ever enter."

Her most recent book is Loaded Words.

Garber has served as Director of the Humanities Center at Harvard, Chair of the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, and Director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. She is the former President of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes and a continuing member of its advisory board. She currently serves as a Trustee of the English Institute and on the Board of Directors of the American Council of Learned Societies, and she is a member of the American Philosophical Society. In 2010, she chaired the judging committee of the non-fiction category of the National Book Awards. She was also a featured commentator on the BBC/PBS television series, Shakespeare Uncovered.


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Speech Topics

The Use and Abuse of Literature

In this deep and engaging presentation on the usefulness and uselessness of reading in the digital age, Marjorie Garber aims to reclaim “literature” from the periphery of our personal, educational, and professional lives and restore it to the center, as a radical way of thinking. But what is literature anyway, how has it been understood over time, and what is its relevance for us today? Who gets to decide what the word means? Why has literature been on the defensive since Plato? Does it have any use at all, other than serving as bourgeois or aristocratic accoutrements attesting to one’s worldly sophistication and refinement of spirit? What are the boundaries that separate it from its “commercial” instance and from other more mundane kinds of writing? Is it, as most of us assume, good to read, much less study—and what would that mean?

  • Czech Mates: When Shakespeare Met Kafka

  • Occupy Shakespeare: Shakespeare in/and the Humanities The Fig Leaf (or, Lies We Wear)

  • Shakespearience

    A semi-autobiographical account of Garber's own coming of age in Shakespeare, beginning with two children's books on Shakespeare that started the path.


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