Download American Vaudeville as Ritual by Albert F. Mclean PDF

By Albert F. Mclean

This examine gives a completely new view of the character of recent renowned leisure. American vaudeville is right here considered as the conscientiously elaborated ritual serving different and paradoxical fable of the recent city folks. It demonstrates that the compulsive myth-making school in guy isn't restricted to primitive ethnic teams or to severe artwork, that vaudeville can't be disregarded as meaningless and beside the point just because it matches neither the standards of formal criticsm or the generic styles of anthropological study.

Using the equipment for feedback built by means of Susanne ok. Langer and others, the writer evaluates American vaudeville as a symbolic manifestation of easy values shared through the yank humans through the interval 1885-1930. through interpreting vaudeville as folks ritual, the booklet finds the subconscious symbolism easy to vaudeville-in its humor, magic, animal acts, song, and playlets, and likewise within the performers and the managers―which gave shape to the dominant American delusion of good fortune. This extraordinary view of the recent mass guy as a people and of his mythology rooted within the very empirical technology dedicated to dispelling fable has implications for the intense learn of all different types of mass leisure in the United States. The e-book is illustrated with a couple of remarkable photos.

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What they held in common as parts of nineteenth century culture was a mythic conception of rural America. In this conception, as it has been described by Henry Nash Smith and other scholars, the independent yeoman farmer, drawing upon his own resources of virtue and will, and relying upon the benevolence of nature, stands as a hero in the drama of American Manifest Destiny. The theme of national literature during the middle decades of the nineteenth century was the ability of this self-sufficient, idealized stock to cultivate the Garden of the West and to provide the basis upon which a nation of free, industrious people might be built.

37 The New Folk and Their Heroes VAUDEVILLE AUDIENCE, amorphous as T HE it was, would appear to defy characterization, but even without precise quantitative definition, it takes on at least the outlines of an identity. We know, for example, that the theaters were generally located near metropolitan shopping areas, and thus the audience must have included both city-dwellers and shoppers from the suburbs. We know that the device of the "continuous performance" was a singular success, and thus that vaudeville appealed to groups with leisure time even during the normal working day.

11 Even the folklorist, who manages to discover connotative values in the rituals, songs, and sayings of peoples in the pastoral backwaters of the modern world, is uncomfortable with the eclectic and commercialized products of the popular imagination which flourish all about him. While there seems to be little consensus among folklorists exactly what folklore is, there is considerable agreement that mass entertainment certainly does not belong in the list of approved materials for their research and study.

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