Love and Theft

Love and Theft : Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class

4.07 (201 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?

Not expected to be delivered to the United States by Christmas Not expected to be delivered to the United States by Christmas


The first book in the series Race and American Culture, Lott's study of the origins of blackface proved to be one of the most favourably received academic books in 1993. Its sophisticated analysis of antebellum race relations appealed to a cross-disciplinary readership in history, literature, and cultural studies. The paperback edition is certain to be taught in upper level courses in African American Studies, and will also continue to be purchased by individual scholars and more

Product details

  • Paperback | 322 pages
  • 154 x 230 x 24mm | 458.13g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • halftones
  • 019509641X
  • 9780195096415
  • 1,494,106

Review quote

'original and erudite study ... A clever, disciplined, and resourceful reading of the commonplace: a pioneering study that, though somewhat academic, will no doubt influence more popular studies' Kirkus Reviews This work is an entertaining and thought-provoking account of the relationship between the development of blackface minstrelsy and the white male working class in the United States. Race Relations Abstracts, Vol. 22, No. 1show more

Back cover copy

For over two centuries, America has celebrated the very black culture it attempts to control and repress, and nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent than in the strange practice of blackface performance. Born of extreme racial and class conflicts, the blackface minstrel show sometimes served to usefully intensify these conflicts. Based on the appropriation of black dialect, music, and dance, minstrelsy at once applauded and lampooned black culture, ironically contributing to a "blackening of America". Drawing on recent research in cultural studies and social history, Eric Lott examines the role of the blackface minstrel show in the political struggles of the years leading up to the Civil War. Reading minstrel music, lyrics, jokes, burlesque skits, and illustrations in tandem with working-class racial ideologies and the sex/gender system, Love and Theft argues that blackface minstrelsy both embodied and disrupted the racial tendencies of its largely white, male, working-class audiences. Underwritten by envy as well as repulsion, sympathetic identification as well as fear - a dialectic of "love and theft" - the minstrel show continually transgressed the color line even as it enabled the formation of a self-consciously white working class. Lott exposes minstrelsy as a signifier for multiple breaches: the rift between high and low cultures, the commodification of the dispossessed by the empowered, the attraction mixed with guilt of whites caught in the act of cultural more

Rating details

201 ratings
4.07 out of 5 stars
5 37% (75)
4 38% (77)
3 21% (42)
2 1% (3)
1 2% (4)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X