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Inside the Minstrel Mask
Readings in Nineteenth-Century Blackface Minstrelsy
Annemarie Bean, ed.; James V. Hatch, ed.; Brooks McNamara, ed.; Mel Watkins, fwd.

1996 • 324 pp. 25 illus. 6 tables. 6 x 9"
Theater & Performing Arts

$25.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6300-2

A sourcebook of contemporary and historical commentary on America's first popular mass entertainment.

As the blackface minstrel show evolved from its beginnings in the American Revolution to its peak during the late 1800s, its frenetic dances, low-brow humor, and lively music provided more than mere entertainment. Indeed, these imitations and parodies shaped society's perceptions of African Americans-and of women-as well as made their mark on national identity, policymaking decisions, and other entertainment forms such as vaudeville, burlesque, the revue, and, eventually, film, radio, and television. Gathered here are rare primary materials-including firsthand accounts of minstrel shows, minstrelsy guides, jokes, sketches, and sheet music-and the best of contemporary scholarship on minstrelsy.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“This fine collection contains some of the oldest jokes in U.S. history and some of the freshest scholarship in American Studies. Inside the Minstrel Mask gathers primary sources, classic nineteenth-century accounts of blackface shows, influential modern accounts of the meaning of minstrelsy as a performance and craze, and exciting new work on race, gender and humor in one of the nation’s most popular and enduring forms of entertainment.”—David Roedigger, University of Minnesota

“Inside the Minstrel Mask is a welcome addition to our need to know what kind of creature blackface minstrelsy really was: not a monster but not a puppy either; and, most of all, a fascinating clue to neglected issues of race relations and race imagery in 19th century popular culture.”—Michele Wallace

ANNEMARIE BEAN is former Managing Editor of The Drama Review. JAMES V. HATCH is Professor of English and Theatre at CUNY and author of Sorrow Is the Only Faithful One (1993). BROOKS McNAMARA is Professor of Performance Studies at NYU and Director of the Schubert Archive. MEL WATKINS is the author of On the Real Side (1994).

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:00:15 -0500