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7812 Girard Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037

Seth Lerer - Shakespeare's Lyric Stage

Seth Lerer - Shakespeare's Lyric Stage

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 7:30pm

7812 Girard Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037

On Tuesday, January 15th at 7:30pm Warwick's will host Seth Lerer to discuss and sign his new book Shakespeare's Lyric Stage: Myth, Music, and Poetry in the Last Plays. Seth Lerer is distinguished professor of literature at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of nine previous books, and received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Truman Capote Prize in Criticism for Children's Literature: A Reader's History, from Aesop to Harry Potter, also published by the University of Chicago Press. This event is free and open to the public. Reserved Seating is available when the book is pre-ordered from Warwick's for the event. Only books purchased from Warwick's will be signed. Please call the Warwick's Book Dept. (858) 454-0347 for details.

What does it mean to have an emotional response to poetry and music? And, just as important but considered less often, what does it mean not to have such a response? What happens when lyric utterances - which should invite consolation, revelation, and connection - somehow fall short of the listener's expectations?

As Seth Lerer shows in this pioneering book, Shakespeare's late plays invite us to contemplate that very question, offering up lyric as a displaced and sometimes desperate antidote to situations of duress or powerlessness. Lerer argues that the theme of lyric misalignment running throughout The Tempest, The Winter's Tale, Henry VIII, and Cymbeline serves a political purpose, a last-ditch effort at transformation for characters and audiences who had lived through witch-hunting, plague, regime change, political conspiracies, and public executions.

A deep dive into the relationship between aesthetics and politics, this book also explores what Shakespearean lyric is able to recuperate for these "victims of history" by virtue of its disjointed utterances. To this end, Lerer establishes the concept of mythic lyricism: an estranging use of songs and poetry that functions to recreate the past as present, to empower the mythic dead, and to restore a bit of magic to the commonplaces and commodities of Jacobean England. Reading against the devotion to form and prosody common in Shakespeare scholarship, Lerer's account of lyric utterance's vexed role in his late works offers new ways to understand generational distance and cultural change throughout the playwright's oeuvre.