Marjorie Garber -->reviewed by John Simon -->

The thesis of Harvard professor Marjorie Garber’s Shakespeare and Modern Culture is a chiastic one: “Shakespeare makes modern culture; modern culture makes Shakespeare.” Chiasmus, as Garber explains, is Greek for crosswise placing, a trope that reverses the order in adjacent phrases. Thus, for example, Hamlet’s “What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba?” Garber expatiates: “The doubling effect is a doubling back that also becomes a doubletake.” The book asserts that much of our thinking, saying, and doing can be traced to Shakespeare, while, reciprocally and chiastically, our age, like all others, creates a Shakespeare in its own image of him. This strikes me as verging on the obvious, but worth an...


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