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Gilbert and Sullivan : gender, genre, parody

Author: Carolyn Williams
Publisher: New York : Columbia University Press, ©2011.
Series: Gender and culture.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Long before the satirical comedy of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, the comic operas of W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan were the hottest send-ups of the day's political and cultural obsessions. Gilbert and Sullivan's productions always rose to the level of social commentary, despite being impertinent, absurd, or inane. Some viewers may take them straight, but what looks like sexism or stereotype was  Read more...
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Named Person: Arthur Sullivan; W S Gilbert; W S Gilbert; William Schwenck Gilbert; Arthur Sullivan; William S Gilbert; Arthur Sullivan; William S Gilbert; Arthur S Sullivan
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Carolyn Williams
ISBN: 9780231148047 0231148046 9780231519663 0231519664
OCLC Number: 611553810
Description: xix, 454 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 25 cm.
Contents: Genres. Outmoding classical extravaganza, Englishing opéra bouffe : Thespis --
Gender in the breach : Trial by jury --
English magic, English intoxication : The sorcerer --
"Never mind the why and wherefore" : the parody of nautical melodrama in H.M.S. Pinafore --
Recollecting illegitimacy : The pirates of Penzance --
Genders. New light on changing gender norms : Patience --
Transforming the fairy genes : women on top in Iolanthe --
War between the sexes : Princess Ida --
Cultures. Estrangement and familiarity : The Mikado --
Mixing it up : gothic and nautical melodrama in Ruddigore --
The past is a foreign country : The yeomen of the guard --
Imaginary republicanism : The gondoliers --
Capitalism and colonialism : Utopia, limited --
Continental recollections : The grand duke --
After Gilbert and Sullivan : the momentum of parody.
Series Title: Gender and culture.
Responsibility: Carolyn Williams.

Abstract:

Long before the satirical comedy of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, the comic operas of W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan were the hottest send-ups of the day's political and cultural obsessions. Gilbert and Sullivan's productions always rose to the level of social commentary, despite being impertinent, absurd, or inane. Some viewers may take them straight, but what looks like sexism or stereotype was actually a clever strategy of critique. Parody was a powerful weapon in the culture wars of late-nineteenth-century England, and with defiantly in-your-face sophistication, Gilbert and Sullivan proved that popular culture can be intellectually as well as politically challenging. Carolyn Williams underscores Gilbert and Sullivan's creative and acute understanding of cultural formations. Her unique perspective shows how anxiety drives the troubled mind in the Lord Chancellor's "Nightmare Song" in Iolanthe and is vividly realized in the sexual and economic phrasing of the song's patter lyrics. The modern body appears automated and performative in the "Junction Song" in Thespis, anticipating Charlie Chaplin's factory worker in Modern Times. Williams also illuminates the use of magic in The Sorcerer, the parody of nautical melodrama in H.M.S. Pinafore, the ridicule of Victorian aesthetic and idyllic poetry in Patience, the autoethnography of The Mikado, the role of gender in Trial by Jury, and the theme of illegitimacy in The Pirates of Penzance. With her provocative reinterpretation of these artists and their work, Williams recasts our understanding of creativity in the late nineteenth century.

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A superb examination of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operas... Highly recommended.Library Journal Library Journal Rich, challenging, irritating, inspiring, provocative, just what one wants in a new Read more...

 
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