Inside the Minstrel Mask: Readings in Nineteenth-Century Blackface Minstrelsy

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Annemarie Bean, James V. Hatch, Brooks McNamara, Chair Department of Performing Arts Brooks McNamara
Wesleyan University Press, Nov 29, 1996 - History - 310 pages
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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.

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About the author (1996)

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).