The symptoms of culture are the anxieties that underlie modern life: the instability of gender roles, the mystery of female sexuality, the enigma of authority, the desire for greatness in ourselves and our heroes.
With style, learning, and wit, Marjorie Garber teases out the symptoms of our cultural discomfort -- the troubles lurking in our pleasures, and even the pleasures we take in what makes us itch.
From concern over fake orgasms to our worries about Great Books reading lists, from wanting God on our side at sports contests to wanting Shakespeare on our side whenever we want to sound important, we are a walking case of symptoms. Whatever the modern illness may be, the doctor locates the symptoms in a box of Jell-O or in Charlotte's marvelous web, on the football field or in the bedroom, in our great Mr. Shakespeare, in the classroom or the courtroom, or in a sneeze.
...impressive scholarship and astute social observation....Garber's abiding interest is...the construction of identity within society, particularly by members of a minority group (gay, Jewish, nonwhite, transvestite) in that society. -- The New York Times Book Review