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Dietrich Icon (Hardback)
  • Dietrich Icon (Hardback)
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Dietrich Icon (Hardback)

(editor), (editor)
£99.00
Hardback 432 Pages / Published: 12/04/2007
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Few movie stars have meant as many things to as many different audiences as the iconic Marlene Dietrich. The actress-chanteuse had a career of some seventy years: one that included not only classical Hollywood cinema and the concert hall but also silent film in Weimar Germany, theater, musical comedy, vaudeville, army camp shows, radio, recordings, television, and even the circus. Having renounced and left Nazi Germany, assumed American citizenship, and entertained American troops, Dietrich has long been a flashpoint in Germany's struggles over its cultural heritage. She has also figured prominently in European and American film scholarship, in studies ranging from analyses of the directors with whom she worked to theories about the ideological and psychic functions of film. Dietrich Icon, which includes essays by established and emerging film scholars, is a unique examination of the many meanings of Dietrich.

Some of the essays in this collection revisit such familiar topics as Germany's complex relationship with Dietrich, her ambiguous sexuality, her place in the lesbian archive, her star status, and her legendary legs, but with fresh critical perspective and an emphasis on historical background. Other essays establish new avenues for understanding Dietrich's persona. Among these are a reading of Marlene Dietrich's ABC-an eclectic autobiographical compendium containing Dietrich's thoughts on such diverse subjects as "steak," "Sternberg (Joseph von)," "Stravinsky," and "stupidity"-and an argument that Dietrich manipulated her voice-through her accent, sexual innuendo, and singing-as much as her visual image in order to convey a cosmopolitan world-weariness. Still other essays consider the specter of aging that loomed over Dietrich's career, as well as the many imitations of the Dietrich persona that have emerged since the star's death in 1992.

Contributors. Nora M. Alter, Steven Bach, Elisabeth Bronfen, Erica Carter, Mary R. Desjardins, Joseph Garncarz, Gerd Gemunden, Mary Beth Haralovich, Amelie Hastie, Lutz Koepnick, Alice A. Kuzniar, Amy Lawrence, Judith Mayne, Patrice Petro, Eric Rentschler, Gaylyn Studlar, Werner Sudendorf, Mark Williams

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822338062
Number of pages: 432
Weight: 975 g
Dimensions: 238 x 165 x 32 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Yes, it is academic in the best sense of the word: you can learn a lot but you may also enjoy the design, the wonderful photos, the careful editing." - Dietrich Newsletter
"[T]he editors provide an extensive summary of the many publications that have explored Dietrich's performances from ideological, formal, and, above all, psychoanalytic perspectives." - Caroline Weber, BookForum
"[T]he genius of the book is its inquiry into the iconic Dietrich herself. . . . [A]high standard of well-written scholarship wrapped in a beautifully produced book graced by a trove of artfully reproduced images. . . . The editors' lucid 22-page intro draws in both scholar and fan. Highly recommended." - T. Cripps, Choice
"[T]here is much to admire in this volume. This is an excellent book to be used in the classroom as well as a resource for any Dietrich aficionado." - Irene Javors, Screening the Past
"As the product of a German studies professor and a film-studies professor respectively, Dietrich Icon is unique in its appeal to a wide scholarly audience. Even more surprising is its approachability to the casual reader who knows little, if anything, about Dietrich. . . . [T]he incredible details of its memoirs . . . and precise critical analysis allow the reader a penetrative rather than descriptive look at Dietrich. Dietrich Icon has something to offer everyone, from literary, film, and queer theorists to cultural studies and history scholars, with something for the unfamiliar reader to boot." - Lauren Indvik, The Dartmouth Review
"Dietrich Icon. . . successfully bridges the gap between academic publishing and writing that can appeal to general readership. . . . The book not only has an alluring design, but the paperback edition is also reasonably priced. . . . Dietrich Icon rises above the fray and encompasses successfully the aesthetic, cultural, and sexual diversity of Marlene Dietrich. To put it simply, the book is indispensable for anybody wanting to know more about the icon Dietrich." - Ulrich Bach, German Studies Review
"Gerd Gemunden and Mary R. Desjardins convincingly suggest, and the essays together prove, that Dietrich is a figure who is interesting not just in herself but also as a prism reflecting discourses on aging, stardom, feminism, film theory, authorship, authenticity, performance, and masquerade, as well as audience projections ranging from Third Reich condemnation to lesbian cult fandom."-Pamela Robertson Wojcik, author of Guilty Pleasures: Feminist Camp from Mae West to Madonna
"Most works on actresses are largely biographical in nature, with some critical evaluation of particular films and stage appearances thrown into the mix. This anthology by Gerd Gemunden and Mary R. Desjardins, however, presents serious historical and theoretical work on Dietrich's star image and career-all expressed in clear and readable language, devoid of 'jargon.'"-Lucy Fischer, author of Designing Women: Cinema, Art Deco, and the Female Form
"Dietrich Icon. . . successfully bridges the gap between academic publishing and writing that can appeal to general readership. . . The book not only has an alluring design, but the paperback edition is also reasonably priced. . . Dietrich Icon rises above the fray and encompasses successfully the aesthetic, cultural, and sexual diversity of Marlene Dietrich. To put it simply, the book is indispensable for anybody wanting to know more about the icon Dietrich." -- Ulrich Bach * German Studies Review *
"[T]he editors provide an extensive summary of the many publications that have explored Dietrich's performances from ideological, formal, and, above all, psychoanalytic perspectives." -- Caroline Weber * BookForum *
"[T]here is much to admire in this volume. This is an excellent book to be used in the classroom as well as a resource for any Dietrich aficionado." -- Irene Javors * Screening the Past *
"Yes, it is academic in the best sense of the word: you can learn a lot but you may also enjoy the design, the wonderful photos, the careful editing." * Dietrich Newsletter *

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