Too Much Of A Good Thing: Mae West as Cultural Icon

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9780816627912: Too Much Of A Good Thing: Mae West as Cultural Icon
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Before Madonna, before Marilyn, there was Mae. The impact of Mae West - through her films, attitude, and aphorisms ("Too much of a good thing can be wonderful"; "Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?") - continues to reverberate through American popular culture more than fifteen years after her death. In Too Much of a Good Thing, Ramona Curry examines the interplay between West's bawdy, worldly persona and twentieth-century gender and media politics.
Although West has remained an important figure, her image has fulfilled varied cultural functions. In the thirties, she was a lightning rod for debates over morality and censorship. In the seventies, the complexity of her portrayal of gender made her a controversial figure for both the gay rights and feminist movements. Curry not only analyzes the symbolic roles West has occupied, arguing that the entertainer represents a carefully orchestrated transgression of race, class, and gender expectations, she also illustrates how icons of pop culture often distill contested social issues, serving diverse and even contradictory political functions. A pithy and innovative look at what Mae West means, Too Much of a Good Thing is must reading for fans, film buffs, and anyone interested in how popular culture evolves and circulates in the United States.

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About the Author:

Ramona Curry is assistant professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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This work explores the shifting figurations of the image of Mae West in 20th-century popular culture. Though there is some exploration of West's career, Curry (English, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana) is primarily interested in West as a symbol. During the 1930s, West represented transgressive sex crossing racial and gender lines. This made her an emblem during the battle for film and radio censorship midway in the decade and ostensibly led to her decline. By the Seventies, West's career had been revived, and she had two entirely different images: she had become a camp female impersonator to the gay community and a markedly negative image for women among the new feminist critics. Even as her performance moved from the earlier social satire to self-parody, she had again become a figure of controversy. The Nineties have brought new appreciation for Mae West's comic style as a parody of social dictates and gender conventions. Amid this analysis of West's iconography, Curry offers the interesting and well-presented thesis that Paramount let West go in 1936 not because the new Production Code made her ribald films impossible but because the major film producers realized that cooperating with the Production Code was an excellent means of ensuring that production stayed in their hands. Recommended for academic collections on film and popular culture.?Marianne Cawley, Enoch Pratt Free Lib., Baltimore
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9780816627905: Too Much Of A Good Thing: Mae West as Cultural Icon

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ISBN 10:  0816627908 ISBN 13:  9780816627905
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9780756790134: Too Much of a Good Thing: Mae West as Cultural Icon

Diane ..., 1996
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Book Description University of Minnesota Press, United States, 1996. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Before Madonna, before Marilyn, there was Mae. The impact of Mae West - through her films, attitude. and aphorisms "too much of a good thing can be wonderful"; "is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" - continues to reverberate through American popular culture 15 years after her death. Ramona Curry examines the interplay between West's bawdy, worldly persona and 20th-century gender and media politics. Although West has remained an important figure, her image has fulfilled varied cultural functions. In the 1930s, she was a lightning rod for debates over morality and censorship. in the 1970s, the complexity of her portrayal of gender made her a controversial figure for both the gay rights and feminist movements. Curry analyzes the symbolic roles West has occupied, arguing that she represents a carefully orchestrated transgression of race, class, and gender expectations, a transgression expressed through West's spectacular costumes, her distinctive performance style, and her on- and off- screen relations with African Americans and gay men. In addition takes a historical look at west's disruptive power as a comedian, a primary source of her continuing appeal.Moving beyond a detailed examination of Mae West's place in American popular culture, Curry illustrates how icons of pop culture often distil contested social issues, serving diverse and even contradictory political functions. Curry then proposes a model for cultural studies that integrates history, media, and feminist theory. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780816627912

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Book Description University of Minnesota Press, United States, 1996. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Before Madonna, before Marilyn, there was Mae. The impact of Mae West - through her films, attitude. and aphorisms too much of a good thing can be wonderful ; is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? - continues to reverberate through American popular culture 15 years after her death. Ramona Curry examines the interplay between West s bawdy, worldly persona and 20th-century gender and media politics. Although West has remained an important figure, her image has fulfilled varied cultural functions. In the 1930s, she was a lightning rod for debates over morality and censorship. in the 1970s, the complexity of her portrayal of gender made her a controversial figure for both the gay rights and feminist movements. Curry analyzes the symbolic roles West has occupied, arguing that she represents a carefully orchestrated transgression of race, class, and gender expectations, a transgression expressed through West s spectacular costumes, her distinctive performance style, and her on- and off- screen relations with African Americans and gay men. In addition takes a historical look at west s disruptive power as a comedian, a primary source of her continuing appeal. Moving beyond a detailed examination of Mae West s place in American popular culture, Curry illustrates how icons of pop culture often distil contested social issues, serving diverse and even contradictory political functions. Curry then proposes a model for cultural studies that integrates history, media, and feminist theory. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780816627912

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