Mae West

Mae West : An Icon in Black and White

3.3 (33 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

"Why don't you come up and see me sometime?" Mae West invited and promptly captured the imagination of generations. Even today, years after her death, the actress and author is still regarded as the pop archetype of sexual wantonness and ribald humour. But who was this saucy starlet, a woman who was controversial enough to be jailed, pursued by film censors and banned from the airwaves for the revolutionary content of her work, and yet would ascend to the status of film legend? Sifting through previously untapped sources, this work unravels the enigmatic life of Mae West, tracing her early years spent in the Brooklyn subculture of boxers and underworld figures, and follows her journey through burlesque, vaudeville, Broadway and, finally, to Hollywood, where she quickly became one of the big screen's most popular and colourful stars. Exploring West's penchant for contradiction and her carefully perpetuated paradoxes, Watts convincingly argues that Mae West borrowed heavily from African American culture, music, dance and humour, creating a subversive voice for herself by which she artfully challenged society and its assumptions regarding race, class and gender.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 416 pages
  • 166.9 x 242.3 x 35.6mm | 806.19g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 28 halftones, bibliography
  • 0195105478
  • 9780195105476

Table of contents

Prologue; 1. The Biggest and the Best; 2. The Way She Does It; 3. Shimmadona; 4. Speaking of the Influences of the Jook; 5. You Can Be Had; 6. The Subject of the Dream; 7. Goodnight to the Dichotomies; 8. IF You Can't Go Straight, You've Got to Go Round; 9. Naturally, I Disagree; 10. Bring Me Rabelais; 11. Well, Why Ask?; 12. You're Never Too Old to Be Younger; Epilogue: All My Past is Really a Prologue; Notes
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About Jill Watts

Jill Watts is Associate Professor of History and has served as the Director of the History Department and Co-Director of the Women's Studies Program at California State University, San Marcos. She is the author of God, Harlem, U.S.A.: The Father Divine Story.
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Review quote

"This book is engagingly written. Watts's research is prodigious and she writes with acuity and verve."--The Times of London"An incisive and vivid portrait that focuses on the enormous influence African American music and culture had on West.... Watts' spirited and intelligent analysis chronicles West's battles with censorship, celebrates her compassionate artistic vision and discipline, and unveils the enigmas and dualisms that pervade the forever iconic West's work and life."--Booklist "This book is engagingly written. Watts's research is prodigious and she writes with acuity and verve."--The Times of London "An incisive and vivid portrait that focuses on the enormous influence African American music and culture had on West.... Watts' spirited and intelligent analysis chronicles West's battles with censorship, celebrates her compassionate artistic vision and discipline, and unveils the enigmas and dualisms that pervade the forever iconic West's work and life."--Booklist "This book is engagingly written. Watts's research is prodigious and she writes with acuity and verve."--The Times of London "An incisive and vivid portrait that focuses on the enormous influence African American music and culture had on West.... Watts' spirited and intelligent analysis chronicles West's battles with censorship, celebrates her compassionate artistic vision and discipline, and unveils the enigmas and dualisms that pervade the forever iconic West's work and life."--Booklist "This book is engagingly written. Watts's research is prodigious and she writes with acuity and verve."--The Times of London"An incisive and vivid portrait that focuses on the enormous influence African American music and culture had on West.... Watts' spirited and intelligent analysis chronicles West's battles with censorship, celebrates her compassionate artistic vision and discipline, and unveils the enigmas anddualisms that pervade the forever iconic West's work and life."--Booklist
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Rating details

33 ratings
3.3 out of 5 stars
5 9% (3)
4 36% (12)
3 36% (12)
2 12% (4)
1 6% (2)
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