Mad Men, Mad World: Sex, Politics, Style, and the 1960s

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9780822354024: Mad Men, Mad World: Sex, Politics, Style, and the 1960s

Since the show's debut in 2007, Mad Men has invited viewers to immerse themselves in the lush period settings, ruthless Madison Avenue advertising culture, and arresting characters at the center of its 1960s fictional world. Mad Men, Mad World is a comprehensive analysis of this groundbreaking TV series. Scholars from across the humanities consider the AMC drama from a fascinating array of perspectives, including fashion, history, architecture, civil rights, feminism, consumerism, art, cinema, and the serial format, as well as through theoretical frames such as critical race theory, gender, queer theory, global studies, and psychoanalysis.

In the introduction, the editors explore the show's popularity; its controversial representations of race, class, and gender; its powerful influence on aesthetics and style; and its unique use of period historicism and advertising as a way of speaking to our neoliberal moment. Mad Men, Mad World also includes an interview with Phil Abraham, an award-winning Mad Men director and cinematographer. Taken together, the essays demonstrate that understanding Mad Men means engaging the show not only as a reflection of the 1960s but also as a commentary on the present day.

Contributors. Michael Bérubé, Alexander Doty, Lauren M. E. Goodlad, Jim Hansen, Dianne Harris, Lynne Joyrich, Lilya Kaganovsky, Clarence Lang, Caroline Levine, Kent Ono, Dana Polan, Leslie Reagan, Mabel Rosenheck, Robert A. Rushing, Irene Small, Michael Szalay, Jeremy Varon

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About the Author:

Lauren M. E. Goodlad is University Scholar, Associate Professor of English, and Director of the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of The Victorian Geopolitical Aesthetic: Realism, Sovereignty, and Transnational Experience (forthcoming) and a coeditor of Goth: Undead Subculture, also published by Duke University Press.

Lilya Kaganovsky is Associate Professor of Slavic, Comparative Literature, and Media & Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of How the Soviet Man Was Unmade.

Robert A. Rushing is Associate Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Resisting Arrest: Detective Fiction and Popular Culture.

Review:

"I read this collection with enormous pleasure. The essays are smart, creative, and original. Writing on matters from TV technology to the history of advertising, and from the early civil rights movement to analogies between Jews and nineteenth-century dandies, the contributors illuminate what turns out to be a very rich and charismatic cultural object. I think that Mad Men, Mad World will make a real splash." (Bruce Robbins, author of Perpetual War: Cosmopolitanism from the Viewpoint of Violence)

"The essays assembled in this collection pay careful, astute analytical attention to one of American television's most significant contemporary series. Deepening its approach far beyond that of standard appreciations of 'quality TV,' this book illuminates Mad Men’s complex, powerful engagement with capitalism, national identity, race, and gender at a time when these categories are so evidently in flux." (Diane Negra, coeditor of Interrogating Postfeminism: Gender and the Politics of Popular Culture)

"What a treat for me to delve into this work with so much academic and intellectual rigor—I love it!" (Phil Abraham, director, , Mad Men)

“Just as Mad Men charms its viewers by using sex, drugs, snappy banter, and pretty people to make heavy topics (sexism, racism, dreams diffused) palatable, the editors of Mad Men, Mad World trust that some TV glamour will get readers interested in digesting academic theories. It's not wrong. Full of dense, fascinating writing, Mad Men, Mad World, from Duke University Press, takes stock of ‘sex, politics, style & the 1960s’ in a series of essays by academics, theorizing about Mad Men.” (Diana Clarke Village Voice)

“Throughout the book are intelligent discussions dissecting the central themes addressed in the show, such as masculinity and feminism, identity, and race relations and representations. . . . [It] accomplishes the admirable feat of offering considerable critique and examination from a standpoint of admiration and fandom.” (Publishers Weekly)

Mad Men, Mad World's brilliance is that it analyzes storylines and characters from completely unexpected angles. . . . These are deeply considered pieces that truly spark intellectual discussion. It's a mad world, indeed, but this book helps to bring some order to the chaos.” (Natalie Papailiou Shelf Awareness for Readers)

“There is much else in the book that I found interesting and useful in thinking about Mad Men, and I think it will be stimulating to readers outside the ranks of aca fandom.” (Scott McLemee Inside Higher Ed)

“An interesting conversation.” (Candace Opper Bitch)

“A lot is packed into this volume, and nobody is likely to reach the end feeling shortchanged. . . . This is no giddy fanzine, to be sure, but for folks who take their Mad Men seriously it opens worthwhile paths of inquiry.” (James M. Keller Santa Fe New Mexican)

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