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Horrible Prettiness: Burlesque and American Culture
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Horrible Prettiness: Burlesque and American Culture

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  76 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Burlesque was a cultural threat, Allen argues, because it inverted the "normal" world of middle-class social relations and transgressed norms of "proper" feminine behavior and appearance. Initially playing to respectable middle-class audiences, burlesque was quickly relegated to the shadow-world of working-class male leisure. In this process the burlesque performer "lost" ...more
Paperback, 382 pages
Published May 27th 1991 by University of North Carolina Press (first published March 1st 1982)
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Bruce
Jun 09, 2016 Bruce rated it really liked it
What is considered art for the elite becomes sinful when performed for the masses. This book shows how one's position in society determines ones' views of entertainment. Burlesque started out with predominately women performers. As in Elizabethan theater all parts were played by a single gender, only in burlesques women took on male roles as well as female. Fun was verbally and physically poked at various political and cultural figures by the women. As time passed men began taking over and women ...more
elizabeth
Oct 02, 2007 elizabeth rated it really liked it
i'm writing a paper about stripping.
Stevi Costa
Jul 05, 2010 Stevi Costa rated it really liked it
Shelves: exam-reading
This book is an excellent cultural history of burlesque that utilizes a cultural/reception studies critical stance to examine the changes in burlesque theatre from it's American debut in 1869 through the turn of the century.

If Allen's work can be said to be lacking anything, it would be a lack of analysis of how burlesque evolved in the 20th century. His final chapter takes this up briefly, but with enough detail to explain why burlesque from the 1920s-40s has become our "cultural imaginary of b
...more
Rachel
Oct 28, 2007 Rachel rated it really liked it
All right, so I read this for my dissertation, which means it doesn't really count. BUT it was pretty good, although I wish he would've talked more about what they actually did onstage (you know, the boobies), along with all the interesting socio-cultural crap.
Jeanne T.
Sep 13, 2008 Jeanne T. rated it really liked it
Wanna read heady theory about the history of and theories about burlesque (with none of the fun?). This book is it. The grandpappy of heady theories about burlesque, this book is a must-read for would-be theorists. And that's about it.
Christine
Dec 30, 2008 Christine marked it as to-read
You might ask when I might stop reading about the burlesque. And apparently the burlesque theory. And just get onstage and let the boobies out.

And I ask myself the same thing.
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