Amsterdam Centre for the Study of the Golden Age

Bad Boys and Hipsters: Shakespeare’s Iago and Rembrandt’s Rembrandt

08May2018 15:30 - 17:00


Professor Harry Berger (University of California) will speak about Shakespeare and Rembrandt. This topic forms part of a larger project entitled Canon Fodder: New Studies in European Poetry, Fiction, Drama, and Painting.

“I am more sinned against than sinning," whines King Lear, giving voice to a cultural readymade that Harry Berger calls the victim’s discourse. By contrast, villains have no patience with this complaint. They stand it on its head to produce the villain’s boast: "I am more sinning than sinned against.” In this talk Prof Berger will explore two performances of the villain’s discourse, one in a soliloquy by Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello, the other in Rembrandt’s portraits of himself as a Bad Boy.


Harry Berger is Professor Emeritus of Literature and Art History at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His work on Renaissance and Baroque literature and art history is extensive and wide ranging, covering topics such as Shakespeare, Spenser, Marvell, Dutch still-life painting, Plato, and critical theory. Among his most recent books are Harrying: Skills of Offense in Shakespeare's Henriad (2015), The Perils of Uglytown:  Structural Misanthropology in Plato’s Republic (2015) and Caterpillage: Reflections on 17th Century Dutch Still Life Painting (2011). For more details see

Published by  ACSGA