From Library Journal
This monograph, part of the distinguished "Music in American Life" series, is an interdisciplinary study drawing on music, performance, and theater history to examine the beginnings of an influential entertainment medium. Mahar (humanities/ music, Pennsylvania State Univ.) uses the study of blackface minstrelsy from 1843 to 1860 as a way to examine the formation and effect of much late 19th-century American popular culture. He provides generous samples of playbills, sheet music, lyrics, selections from comic sketches, and photographs as evidence for his argument. Mahar shows that the minstrel show made fun of formal speech and rhetoric, satirized opera for popular consumption, and provided a mirror for the polarities of contemporary American life, social rituals, and sexual roles. It prepared the way for melodrama, burlesque, vaudeville, and the musical comedy, all of which extended those functions. Recommended for scholars.?Thomas E. Luddy, Salem State Coll., MA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Make[s] available much valuable and fascinating material found nowhere else in the literature on blackface minstrelsy, so much so that Behind the Burnt Cork Mask can itself serve as a primary source for further research." -- Charles Hamm, Journal of the American Musicological Society