Pleasing Everyone: Mass Entertainment in Renaissance London and Golden-Age Hollywood (Hardback)
  • Pleasing Everyone: Mass Entertainment in Renaissance London and Golden-Age Hollywood (Hardback)
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Pleasing Everyone: Mass Entertainment in Renaissance London and Golden-Age Hollywood (Hardback)

(author)
£27.99
Hardback 312 Pages / Published: 23/02/2017
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Shakespeare's plays were immensely popular in their own day - so why do we refuse to think of them as mass entertainment? In Pleasing Everyone, author Jeffrey Knapp opens our eyes to the uncanny resemblance between Renaissance drama and the incontrovertibly mass medium of Golden-Age Hollywood cinema. Through fascinating explorations of such famous plays as Hamlet, The Roaring Girl, and The Alchemist, and such celebrated films as Citizen Kane, The Jazz Singer, and City Lights, Knapp challenges some of our most basic assumptions about the relationship between art and mass audiences. Above all, Knapp encourages us to resist the prejudice that mass entertainment necessarily simplifies and cheapens whatever it touches. As Knapp shows, it was instead the ceaseless pressure to please everyone that helped generate the astonishing richness and complexity of Renaissance drama as well as of Hollywood film.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780190634063
Number of pages: 312
Weight: 756 g
Dimensions: 241 x 173 x 25 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Pleasing Everyone provides a compelling snapshot of a critical habitus in which even the best critics of Renaissance drama and twenty-first-century cinema are frequently wrong-footed by their commitment to purported mutual exclusivities that rarely withstand close scrutiny. * Bulletin of the Comediantes *
With its original critical and historiographical strategies and meticulous scholarship, Pleasing Everyone is a remarkable achievement. Knapp's acute comparative analyses of the performance cultures of Shakespeare's London and Hollywood's 'Golden Age' and sophisticated, lively readings of films and plays make this an outstandingly engaging and stimulating read."-RUSSELL JACKSON, University of Birmingham
What happens when, putting our high-toned Renaissance drama next to our lowdown Hollywood cinema, we think them together? In Jeffrey Knapp's strongly argued new study, the outcome is an original-and highly usable-conception of 'mass entertainment' in which art and junk, individual and mass, author and collaboration are always inseparable in their dialectical play. For all its immortal verses, the drama proves as fully invested in the business of popular entertainment as anything that came after it; and despite its programmatic accessibility, the cinema acquires an artistic credibility that makes talk of 'authors' and 'self-reflection' necessary categories of analysis. The intricate readings that carry this argument forward are so fresh that even practiced critical hands may feel they are discovering The Winter's Tale or Citizen Kane for the first time."-D.A. MILLER, University of California, Berkeley
In taking on the theater/film dyad, Knapp strikes at the heart of many of the theoretical foundations of the entire field of cinema studies itself, patiently eroding the apparent self-evidence of terms such as 'mass,' 'entertainment,' 'art,' 'modernity,' and 'technology,' by giving them a different history and by showing, through a series of tour-de-force close readings, how that history has been shaped and reflected upon by plays and films themselves. Pleasing Everyone is a game-changer, bringing to cinema and media studies a salutary shift in frame of reference that will be the source of much study and debate."-JAMES SCHAMUS, Columbia University

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