Seeing the American Woman, 1880-1920: The Social Impact of the Visual Media Explosion

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From 1880 to 1920, the first truly national visual culture developed in the United States as a result of the completion of the Pacific Railroad. Women, especially young and beautiful ones, found new lives shaped by their participation in that visual culture. This rapidly evolving age left behind the “cult of domesticity” that reigned in the nineteenth century to give rise to new “types” of women based on a single feature—a type of hair, skin, dress, or prop—including the Gibson Girl, the sob sister, the stunt girl, the hoochy-coochy dancer, and the bearded lady. Exploring both high and low culture, from the circus and film to newspapers and magazines, this work examines depictions of women at the dawn of “mass media,” depictions that would remain influential throughout the twentieth century.
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About the author

Katherine H. Adams is the Hutchinson Distinguished Professor of English at Loyola University New Orleans. The late Michael L. Keene was a professor emeritus of English at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Jennifer C. Koella lectures at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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Additional Information

Publisher
McFarland
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Published on
Dec 8, 2011
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Pages
243
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ISBN
9780786489039
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / General
Language Arts & Disciplines / Journalism
Performing Arts / Film / General
Performing Arts / Theater / General
Social Science / Women's Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In this lively and yet scholarly book, creative artists, people who direct channels of communications, and social scientists present their numerous positions and deeply felt disagreements. Originally released thirty years ago under the rubric "Culture for the Millions, "the work discusses whether or not American culture is in a state of rise or decline; whether mass media dilutes the arts or provides more art for more people; whether cultural leaders are in touch with their audiences, and other such issues.

This volume brings together outstanding artists, scholars, and media executives who present their wide-ranging and deeply felt positions and disagreements. "Mass Media in Modern Society "remains a classic, not only for what it represents as a historical document, but also because of the centrality of its discussions about the nature of cultural participation and aesthetics hi modern society.

The contributions include: Paul F. Lazarsfeld, "Mass Culture Today," Edward Shils, "Mass Society and Its Culture," Leo Lowenthal, "A Historical Preface to the Popular Culture" Debate," Hannah Arendt, "Society and Culture," Ernest van den Haag, "A Dissent from the Consensual Society," Oscar Handlin, "Comments on Mass and Popular Culture," Leo Rosten, "The Intellectual and the Mass Media," Frank Stanton, "Parallel Paths," James Johnson Sweeney, "The Artist and the Museum hi a Modern Society," Randall Jarrell, "A Sad Heart at the Supermarket," Arthur Asa Berger, "Notes on the Plight of the American Composer," James Baldwin, "Mass Culture and the Creative Artist," Stanley Edgar Hyman, "Ideals, Dangers, and Limitations of Mass Culture," H. Stewart Hughes, "Mass Culture and Social Criticism," Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., "Notes on a National Cultural Policy."

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