American Hybrid Poetics explores the ways in which hybrid poetics—a playful mixing of disparate formal and aesthetic strategies—have been the driving force in the work of a historically and culturally diverse group of women poets who are part of a robust tradition in contesting the dominant cultural order. Amy Moorman Robbins examines the ways in which five poets—Gertrude Stein, Laura Mullen, Alice Notley, Harryette Mullen, and Claudia Rankine—use hybridity as an implicitly political strategy to interrupt mainstream American language, literary genres, and visual culture, and expose the ways in which mass culture in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has had a powerfully standardizing impact on the collective American imagination. By forcing encounters between incompatible traditions—consumer culture with the avant-garde, low culture forms with experimental poetics, prose poetry with linguistic subversiveness—these poets bring together radically competing ideologies and highlight their implications for lived experience. Robbins argues that it is precisely because these poets have mixed forms that their work has gone largely unnoticed by leading members and critics in experimental poetry circles.
In the postwar years, Italy underwent a far-reaching process of industrialization that transformed the country into a leading industrial power. Throughout most of this period, the Italian Communist Party (PCI) remained a powerful force in local government and civil society. However, as Stephen Gundle observes, the PCI was increasingly faced with challenges posed by modernization, particularly by mass communication, commercial cultural industries, and consumerism. Between Hollywood and Moscow is an analysis of the PCI’s attempts to cope with these problems in an effort to maintain its organization and subculture. Gundle focuses on the theme of cultural policy, examining how the PCI’s political strategies incorporated cultural policies and activities that were intended to respond to the Americanization of daily life in Italy. In formulating this policy, Gundle contends, the Italian Communists were torn between loyalty to the alternative values generated by the Communist tradition and adaptation to the dominant influences of Italian modernization. This equilibrium eventually faltered because the attractive aspects of Americanization and pop culture proved more influential than the PCI’s intellectual and political traditions. The first analysis in English of the cultural policies and activities of the PCI, this book will appeal to readers with an interest in modern Italy, the European left, political science, and media studies.
Horrified, saddened, and angered: That was the American people’s reaction to the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the Virginia Tech shootings, and the 2008 financial crisis. In Consuming Catastrophe, Timothy Recuber presents a unique and provocative look at how these four very different disasters took a similar path through public consciousness. He explores the myriad ways we engage with and negotiate our feelings about disasters and tragedies—from omnipresent media broadcasts to relief fund efforts and promises to “Never Forget.”
Recuber explains how a specific and “real” kind of emotional connection to the victims becomes a crucial element in the creation, use, and consumption of mass mediation of disasters. He links this to the concept of “empathetic hedonism,” or the desire to understand or feel the suffering of others.
The ineffability of disasters makes them a spectacular and emotional force in contemporary American culture. Consuming Catastrophe provides a lively analysis of the themes and meanings of tragedy and the emotions it engenders in the representation, mediation and consumption of disasters.
In The Genuine Article Paul Gilmore examines the interdependence of literary and mass culture at a crucial moment in U. S. history. Demonstrating from a new perspective the centrality of race to the construction of white manhood across class lines, Gilmore argues that in the years before the Civil War, as literature increasingly became another commodity in the capitalist cultural marketplace, American authors appropriated middle-brow and racially loaded cultural forms to bolster their masculinity. From characters in Indian melodramas and minstrel shows to exhibits in popular museums and daguerrotype galleries, primitive racialized figures circulated as “the genuine article” of manliness in the antebellum United States. Gilmore argues that these figures were manipulated, translated, and adopted not only by canonical authors such as Hawthorne, Thoreau, Cooper, and Melville but also by African American and Native American writers like William Wells Brown and Okah Tubbee. By examining how these cultural notions of race played out in literary texts and helped to construct authorship as a masculine profession, Gilmore makes a unique contribution to theories of class formation in nineteenth-century America. The Genuine Article will enrich students and scholars of American studies, gender studies, literature, history, sociology, anthropology, popular culture, and race.
The so-called “Silver Age” of Spain ran from 1898 to the rise of Franco in 1939 and was characterized by intense urbanization, widespread class struggle and mobility, and a boom in mass culture. This book offers a close look at one manifestation of that mass culture: weekly collections of short, often pocket-sized books sold in urban kiosks at low prices. These series published a wide range of literature in a variety of genres and formats, but their role as disseminators of erotic and anarchist fiction led them to be censored by the Franco dictatorship. This book offers the most detailed scholarly analysis of kiosk literature to date, examining the kiosk phenomenon through the lens of contemporary interdisciplinary theories of urban space, visuality, celebrity, gender and sexuality, and the digital humanities.
Arguing that affect has a history, Ann Cvetkovich challenges both nineteenth- and twentieth-century claims that the expression of feeling is naturally or intrinsically liberating or reactionary. The central focus of Mixed Feelings is the Victorian sensation novel, the fad genre of the 1860s, whose controversial popularity marks an important moment in the history of mass culture. Drawing on Marxist, feminist, and Foucauldian cultural theory, Cvetkovich investigates the sensation novel's power to produce emotional responses, its representation of social problems as affective ones, and the difficulties involved in assessing the genre as either reactionary or subversive. She is particularly concerned with the relation of gender and affect since many of the sensation novels were written by and for women, and women. By examining the powerful conjunction of ideologies of affect, gender, and mass culture, Cvetkovich reveals the powerful political effects of affective expression and sensational representations.
Movies & Mass Culture
Belton, John Rutgers University Press, 1995 Library of Congress PN1995.9.S6M68 1996 | Dewey Decimal 302.23430973
Movies and Mass Culture looks at the ways in which American identity shapes and is shaped by motion pictures. Movies serve not only as texts that document who we think we are or were, but they also reflect changes in our self-image, tracing the transformation from one kind of America to another. They assist audiences in negotiating major changes in identity, carrying them across difficult periods of cultural transition so that a more or less coherent national identity again emerges. Films thus help their viewers to span the gaps and fissures that cultural changes cause, allowing passage over any disjointedness that in some way might disrupt our sense of what we believe in as a nation. This volume examines this process, illustrating the ways in which films aided America's transition from an agrarian to an industrial economy; from a nation of producers to one of consumers; and from a community of individuals to a mass society.
"A scrupulously argued, clearly written account of Hollywood's role in bringing America skipping and giggling from the Victorian world into the twentieth century."—Philip French, London Sunday Observer
"It is impossible to follow a narrow trail through the movies. The vistas keep opening, and May, linking movies to mass society, finds and makes new perceptions on emerging women, the rise of the studios, the special growth and appeal of Los Angeles, the nature of studio leadership and the early and persistent imputed corrupting power of film."—Charles Champlin, Los Angeles Times
"Lary May . . . has provided a set of new and rich insights into the changing patterns of American culture, 1890-1929. . . . His concentration on social and cultural history indirectly provides answers to questions which have baffled political historians for several decades."—David W. Noble, Minneapolis Tribune
"[Screening Out the Past is] a scrupulously argued, clearly written account of Hollywood's role in bringing America skipping and giggling from the Victorian world into the twentieth century. May is splendid on the psychology of the immigrant movie moguls, on Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford as post Great War role models, and many other things."—Philip French, London Sunday Observor
"Altogether, the book represents the most successful blending of movie and cultural history to date."—Benjamin McArthur, Journal of Social History
War on Crime revises the history of the New Deal transformation and suggests a new model for political history-one which recognizes that cultural phenomena and the political realm produce, between them, an idea of "the state." The war on crime was fought with guns and pens, movies and legislation, radio and government hearings. All of these methods illuminate this period of state transformation, and perceptions of that emergent state, in the years of the first New Deal. The creation of G-men and gangsters as cultural heroes in this period not only explores the Depression-era obsession with crime and celebrity, but it also lends insight on how citizens understood a nation undergoing large political and social changes.
Anxieties about crime today have become a familiar route for the creation of new government agencies and the extension of state authority. It is important to remember the original "war on crime" in the 1930s-and the opportunities it afforded to New Dealers and established bureaucrats like J. Edgar Hoover-as scholars grapple with the ways states assert influence over populations, local authority, and party politics while they pursue goals such as reducing popular violence and protecting private property.