Gideon's Blog

In direct contravention of my wife's explicit instructions, herewith I inaugurate my first blog. Long may it prosper.

For some reason, I think I have something to say to you. You think you have something to say to me? Email me at: gideonsblogger -at- yahoo -dot- com

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Thursday, December 23, 2004
 
I'm in the middle of reading Marjorie Garber's new book, Shakespeare After All. I was not anticipating I'd enjoy it, largely because what she's known for as an academic is stuff I'm not terribly interested in. (Here's a rundown of some her previous publications: Quotation Marks; Sex and Real Estate; Dog Love; Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life; Vested Interests: Cross-Dressing and Cultural Anxiety.)

But, after wading through the first through chapters without gleaning any special insight, I found the book starting to hit its stride, and myself starting to learn something. The book is organized as a series of essays on each of Shakespeare's plays, presented in what Garber believes (since no one knows for sure) is the order of their composition (with a couple of exceptions that she notes as such). The earlier chapters were, I thought, a bit pedantic and harped too incessantly on Garber's favored themes. (How many times do I have to hear that the female roles in Shakespeare's day were played by men, and that Shakespeare played off this fact in many of his plots? How many times do I have to hear that when characters talk about playing a role, there is a double meaning inasmuch as the characters are, of course, played themselves by actors?) But when we start to get to the meatier plays, the book improves dramatically. I've just finished the essays on A Merchant of Venice and Henry IV part 1 - two of my favorite plays in the canon - and it's apparent that, with such rich texts to work with, Garber has too much substantive to say to harp on tired themes. So I'm looking forward to the rest of the book.