'Twas Only an Irishman's Dream

'Twas Only an Irishman's Dream : The Image of Ireland and the Irish in American Popular Song Lyrics, 1800-1920

3.33 (6 ratings by Goodreads)
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The image of the Irish in the United States changed drastically over time, from that of hard-drinking, rioting Paddies to genial, patriotic working-class citizens. In 'Twas Only an Irishman's Dream, William H. A. Williams traces the change in this image through more than seven hundred pieces of sheet music - popular songs from the stage and for the parlor - to show how Americans' opinions of Ireland and the Irish went practically from one extreme to the other. Because sheet music was a commercial item it had to be acceptable to the broadest possible song-buying public. Negotiations about their image involved Irish songwriters, performers, and pressured groups, on the one hand, and non-Irish writers, publishers, and audiences, on the other. Williams ties the contents of song lyrics to the history of the Irish diaspora, suggesting how ethnic stereotypes are created and how they evolve within commercial popular culture.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 344 pages
  • 155.7 x 234.2 x 30.2mm | 736.52g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252022467
  • 9780252022463

Table of contents

Dear harp of my country, the Irish origins -- Romantic Irish popular songs in antebellum America -- From teague to Paddy, the evolution of the stage Irish -- Ethnicity and parlor songs, Paddy compared -- To the land we left and to land we live in -- The Irish and Vaudeville -- The Irish American in post-Ci War song -- The theater and songs of Edward Harrigan -- Paddy in the alley - Irish America in search of an image -- All that I want is in Ireland.
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Review quote

"This engaging social history underlines the role of popular music in the cultural negotiations of immigrant identity... Through its pages pass John McCormack, Ned Harrigan, George M. Cohan -- some of the greatest names in American popular music before the 1920s." -- Choice
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Rating details

6 ratings
3.33 out of 5 stars
5 17% (1)
4 33% (2)
3 33% (2)
2 0% (0)
1 17% (1)
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