Jump Jim Crow: Lost Plays, Lyrics, and Street Prose of the First Atlantic Popular Culture

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Harvard University Press, 2003 - Drama - 459 pages
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Beginning in the 1830s, the white actor Thomas D. Rice took to the stage as Jim Crow, and the ragged and charismatic trickster of black folklore entered--and forever transformed--American popular culture. Jump Jim Crow brings together for the first time the plays and songs performed in this guise and reveals how these texts code the complex use and abuse of blackness that has characterized American culture ever since Jim Crow's first appearance.

Along with the prompt scripts of nine plays performed by Rice--never before published as their original audiences saw them--W. T. Lhamon Jr. provides a reconstruction of their performance history and a provocative analysis of their contemporary meaning. His reading shows us how these plays built a public blackness, but also how they engaged a disaffected white audience, who found in Jim Crow's sass and wit and madcap dancing an expression of rebellion and resistance against the oppression and confinement suffered by ordinary people of all colors in antebellum America and early Victorian England.

Upstaging conventional stories and forms, giving direction and expression to the unruly attitudes of a burgeoning underclass, the plays in this anthology enact a vital force still felt in great fictions, movies, and musics of the Atlantic and in the jumping, speedy styles that join all these forms.

 

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Jump Jim Crow: lost plays, lyrics, and street prose of the first Atlantic popular culture

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Thomas Dartmouth Rice captured American and British audiences in the 1830s and succeeding decades with his groundbreaking blackface performances as "Jim Crow," a stage phenomenon in urban popular ... Read full review

Contents

III
1
IV
20
V
25
VI
30
VII
93
VIII
94
IX
95
X
102
XXI
148
XXII
159
XXIII
178
XXIV
210
XXV
264
XXVI
301
XXVII
314
XXVIII
326

XI
116
XII
128
XIII
129
XIV
131
XV
136
XVI
137
XVII
139
XVIII
141
XIX
144
XX
147
XXIX
343
XXX
385
XXXI
386
XXXII
387
XXXIII
399
XXXIV
407
XXXV
455
XXXVI
457
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About the author (2003)

W. T. Lhamon, Jr., is Emeritus Professor of English at Florida State University and Lecturer in American Studies at Smith College.

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