Cultivating National Identity through Performance: American Pleasure Gardens and Entertainment (Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History)

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9781137326867: Cultivating National Identity through Performance: American Pleasure Gardens and Entertainment (Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History)
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Combining the charms of the country with the convenience of the city and delivering a healthy dose of both entertainment and education, American pleasure gardens were ubiquitous between the Revolution and the Civil War. Patrons of these entertainment venues would have expected to see plays, concerts, fairs, mechanical and artistic exhibits, fireworks, volcanic eruptions, and - perhaps more crucially - they would have expected to see and be seen. As outdoor entertainment venues in American cities in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, pleasure gardens presented citizens with public spaces where they could explore what it meant to be American. The very nature of American pleasure gardens provided an effective location for the exploration of and experimentation with American identities, due to their nature as simultaneously rural and urban, modern and nostalgic, British and American, white and racialized, and democratic and class-conscious. Stubbs examines how these once popular venues helped form American identity using nation, class, race, and the agrarian ideal as touchstones and argues the gardens allowed for the exploration of what it meant to be American through performance, both on and off the stage.

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About the Author:

Naomi J. Stubbs is Assistant Professor in the English Department at LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York, USA. She is co-editor of the Journal of American Drama and Theatre.

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"In this comprehensive, well-written and thoroughly researched volume, Naomi Stubbs chronicles and examines a little-known and under-appreciated venue for popular entertainments. In her cultural study, Stubbs analyzes the 18th and 19th century American pleasure garden as the site for performance as well as a destination for relaxation and recreation, in the process, documenting how these unique landscapes helped shape class, racial, personal and national identities." - John Frick, University of Virginia, USA
 
"Naomi Stubbs uncovers the complex and multiple ways pleasure gardens operated in nineteenth-century America. From early national Independence Day celebrations, past a variegated array of acrobats, floral displays, and lectures, all the way to mid-century opera, pleasure gardens hosted the defining performances of American culture. Bolstered by thorough and original research, Cultivating National Identity Through Performance broadens our sense of American entertainment practices and their influence on American culture." - Peter P. Reed, University of Mississippi, USA

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9781349460021: Cultivating National Identity through Performance: American Pleasure Gardens and Entertainment (Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History)

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