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In Loaded Words the inimitable literary and cultural critic Marjorie Garber invites readers to join her in a rigorous and exuberant exploration of language. What links the pieces included in this vibrant new collection is the author’s contention that all words are inescapably loaded—that is, highly charged, explosive, substantial, intoxicating, fruitful, and overbrimming—and that such loading is what makes language matter.
Garber casts her keen eye on terms from knowledge, belief, madness, interruption, genius, and celebrity to humanities, general education, and academia. Included here are an array of stirring essays, from the title piece, with its demonstration of the importance of language to our thinking about the world; to the superb “Mad Lib,” on the concept of madness from Mad magazine to debates between Foucault and Derrida; to pieces on Shakespeare, “the most culturally loaded name of our time,” and the Renaissance.
With its wide range of cultural references and engaging style coupled with fresh intellectual inquiry, Loaded Words will draw in and enchant scholars, students, and general readers alike.
Marjorie Garber is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English and of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. Among her many books are Symptoms of Culture, Quotation Marks, Shakespeare After All, and The Use and Abuse of Literature.
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