The New Humor in the Progressive Era: Americanization and the Vaudeville Comedian


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By Rick DesRochers.


  1. The New Humor in the Progressive Era.
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London: Palgrave Macmillan, Yet if, as DesRochers successfully illustrates, vaudeville reproduces many of the sensibilities of modernism—from its nonlinear absurdist forms to its assault on the master plots of history—it is not the esoteric modernism of T. Eliot or Ezra Pound. DesRochers locates the power of vaudeville, instead, in both its originality and its populist appeal.

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Artists such as the Marx Brothers, Buster Keaton, May Irwin, and Eva Tanguay mined the tension between a radical critique of middle-class values and a savvy courtship of a popular audience. Not unlike [End Page ] jazz musicians—their modernist counterparts—the comics of New Humor relied on dissonance and abstraction to create a similarly electric and seductive connection to the audience.

And like jazz, vaudeville became, according to DesRochers, similarly famous and forbidden. In a sharp, perceptive opening chapter, DesRochers teases out the complicated motivations that inspired Progressive Era writers and activists—Benjamin Parke De Witt, Jane Adams, Walter Lippmann, among others—to defend the immigrant poor while at the same time disparaging their taste, their behavior, their language, their food, and even their child-rearing.

DesRochers highlights the various school acts that began on the vaudeville stage, as well as the way comic performers unsettled expectations of decorum, particularly for women. Situated at the intersection of immigrant experience and popular culture, New Humor attracts as much as and often because it offends. Mencken, to the letters, memories, and memoirs of vaudevillians both famous and long forgotten.

DesRochers clearly draws the battle-lines between the cultural elite and the immigrant, working-class men and women of vaudeville. Add to Cart. Free delivery. Arrives by Monday, Sep Free pickup Mon, Sep Ships to San Leandro, Davis St.

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Product Highlights Providing a comprehensive and wide range of comic vaudevillians, a special emphasis is placed on the comedy team and ethnic act of Joe Weber and Lew Fields; the family act of the Three Keatons; the school act of the Marx Brothers; the combination ethnic and family act of Kate and May Elinore, known as the Elinore Sisters; and the burlesque-inspired comedy of May Irwin, Eva Tanguay, and Marie Dressler.

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New Humor in the Progressive Era, Rick Desrochers Hardcover | Walmart Canada

This diverse array of performers will be considered in relationship to Progressive-era reformers, cultural critics, and moral authorities, and their attempts to control, censure, and regulate popular comic entertainments on the vaudeville stage"-- By tracing the effects of unprecedented immigration, the advent of the new woman, and the little-known vaudeville careers of performers like the Elinore Sisters, Buster Keaton, and the Marx Brothers, DesRochers examines the relation between comedic vaudeville acts and progressive reformers as they fought over the new definition of "Americanness.

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The new humor in the Progressive Era : Americanization and the Vaudeville comedian

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The New Humor in the Progressive Era: Americanization and the Vaudeville Comedian The New Humor in the Progressive Era: Americanization and the Vaudeville Comedian
The New Humor in the Progressive Era: Americanization and the Vaudeville Comedian The New Humor in the Progressive Era: Americanization and the Vaudeville Comedian
The New Humor in the Progressive Era: Americanization and the Vaudeville Comedian The New Humor in the Progressive Era: Americanization and the Vaudeville Comedian
The New Humor in the Progressive Era: Americanization and the Vaudeville Comedian The New Humor in the Progressive Era: Americanization and the Vaudeville Comedian
The New Humor in the Progressive Era: Americanization and the Vaudeville Comedian The New Humor in the Progressive Era: Americanization and the Vaudeville Comedian

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