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Madcaps, Screwballs, and Con Women: The Female Trickster in American Culture (Feminist Cultural Studies, the Media, and Political Culture) Hardcover – April, 1998


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An important addition to the study of women in the 'liminal' spaces of American culture in the twentieth century."—Journal of American History



"Beginning with nineteenth-century novels . . . and moving through twentieth-century fiction, film, radio, and television, Lori Landay looks at how popular heroines use craft and deceit to circumvent the limitations of femininity. In addition, Landay explores the connections between these texts and advertisements selling products that encourage female deception and trickery. . . . They tell a powerful story about woman's place and women's power during the sexual desegregation of American society."—ScreenSite

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Lori Landay teaches in the Department of English and Journalism at Western Illinois University. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Feminist Cultural Studies, the Media, and Political Culture
  • Hardcover: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Pennsylvania Pr (April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812234359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812234350
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,897,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
While this was originally written as a doctoral thesis, it is by no means a dry, academic work. It is well-written, engaging and entertaining, as Landay looks at the existence and role of the female trickster. Like more traditional tricksters of folklore (Brer Rabbit, Anansi) and pop culture (Bugs Bunny), the female trickster in American culture plays with convention, uses disguise to cross boundaries and walks the line between accepted values and subversive behavior. Lucille Ball was such a woman; so were "It" girl Clara Bow, Mae West and Marlene Dietrich, and their existence enriched and to some extent changed society. Well-researched and highly illuminating, this is a great book for anyone looking for a different take on the "women-in-pop-culture" issue.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Laurel Jenkins-Crowe on November 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
This lavishly illustrated study of the female trickster in US culture links Mae West to Catwoman, Lorelei Lee to Lucy, and Rosie the Riveter to Rosanne. The balance between literature and popular culture is perfectly negotiated throughout this chronologically arranged study of how female tricksters "perform [...] the cultural work of transforming the feminine into the human." Highly readable and thoroughly entertaining, Madcaps is a wonderful introduction to and overview of a heretofore neglected subject.
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