The Popular Frontier: Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Transnational Mass Culture
University of Oklahoma Press, Dec 4, 2017 - History - 264 pages
When William F. Cody introduced his Wild West exhibition to European audiences in 1887, the show soared to new heights of popularity and success. With its colorful portrayal of cowboys, Indians, and the taming of the North American frontier, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West popularized a myth of American national identity and shaped European perceptions of the United States. The Popular Frontier is the first collection of essays to explore the transnational impact and mass-cultural appeal of Cody’s Wild West.
As editor Frank Christianson explains in his introduction, for the first four years after Cody conceived it, the Wild West exhibition toured the United States, honing the operation into a financially solvent enterprise. When the troupe ventured to England for its first overseas booking, its success exceeded all expectations. Between 1887 and 1906 the Wild West performed in fourteen countries, traveled more than 200,000 miles, and attracted a collective audience in the tens of millions.
How did Europeans respond to Cody’s vision of the American frontier? And how did European countries appropriate what they saw on display? Addressing these questions and others, the contributors to this volume consider how the Wild West functioned within social and cultural contexts far grander in scope than even the vast American West. Among the topics addressed are the pairing of William F. Cody and Theodore Roosevelt as embodiments of frontier masculinity, and the significance of the show’s most enduring persona, Annie Oakley.
An informative and thought-provoking examination of the Wild West’s foreign tours, The Popular Frontier offers new insight into late-nineteenth-century gender politics and ethnicity, the development of American nationalism, and the simultaneous rise of a global mass culture.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
acts American frontier American Indian American West Annie Oakley appeared arena associated audiences authenticity Barcelona became become Bill’s Wild West Britain British Buffalo Bill Buffalo Bill’s Wild called Center century character civilization claim Cody Collection Cody’s context continued cowboy critics cultural described early emphasized empire England English Europe European example exhibition expressed fact figure France French frontier German Girl global hand Ibid identity imperialism included interest Italian Italy January land later live London masculinity mass military narrative nature newspaper nineteenth century noted Oakley’s offered Paris peace performance period play points political popular presented Press published reporter represented returned role Roosevelt Rough Riders Spain stage story success suggests tour transatlantic traveled turn United University Warren West’s western Wild West show Wilde’s William F women World writes York