Wayne Koestenbaum – The Anatomy of Harpo Marx

Wayne Koestenbaum, distinguished professor of English at the Graduate Center.

Koestenbaum guides the reader through the thirteen Marx Brothers films, from The Cocoanuts in 1929 to Love Happy in 1950, to focus on Harpo’s chief and yet heretofore unexplored attribute—his profound and contradictory corporeality. Koestenbaum celebrates the astonishing range of Harpo’s body—its kinks, sexual multiplicities, somnolence, Jewishness, “cute” pathos, and more. Moving from insightful analysis to cultural critique to autobiographical musing, Koestenbaum provides Harpo with a host of odd bedfellows, including Walter Benjamin and Barbra Streisand.

Koestenbaum, Wayne. The Anatomy of Harpo Marx. Los Angeles: University of Califordian Press, 2012. Buy it on Amazon