Demons of Disorder: Early Blackface Minstrels and their World

Overview

Carnival, charivari, mumming plays, peasant festivals, and even early versions of the Santa Claus myth - all of these forms of entertainment influenced and shaped blackface minstrelsy in the first half of the nineteenth century. In his fascinating study Demons of Disorder, musicologist Dale Cockrell studies issues of race and class by analyzing their cultural expressions, and investigates the roots of still-remembered songs such as "Jim Crow," "Zip Coon," and "Dan Tucker." Flaming his way across nearly all the ...
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Overview

Carnival, charivari, mumming plays, peasant festivals, and even early versions of the Santa Claus myth - all of these forms of entertainment influenced and shaped blackface minstrelsy in the first half of the nineteenth century. In his fascinating study Demons of Disorder, musicologist Dale Cockrell studies issues of race and class by analyzing their cultural expressions, and investigates the roots of still-remembered songs such as "Jim Crow," "Zip Coon," and "Dan Tucker." Flaming his way across nearly all the worlds uncovered here is George Washington Dixon, the man most deserving of the title "father of blackface minstrelsy" and surely one of celebrity's all-time heavyweight eccentrics - a bonafide "demon of disorder." The first book on the blackface tradition written by a leading musicologist, Demons of Disorder is an important achievement in music history and culture.
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Editorial Reviews

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"...merits the attention of students and scholars in theater, anthropology, law, and sociology, as well as music....Recommended for upper-division undergraduates through faculty." Choice

"In this original and subtly written work, Cockrell demonstrates the value of a focused analysis of minstrlsy in a particular time and placeā€”an approach that stands to enhance the study of all periods of minstrel history. Demons of Disorder offers an important corrective to postmodernist scholarship in asserting that understanding cultural meanings requires not simply theoretical speculation but careful examination of the historical record." Howard L. Sacks, American Music

"...required reading for anyone wishing to grasp the depth of meaning and the range of opinion on blackface minstrelsy." Brian Thompson, Notes

"This book, which unpacks so much about the phenomenon clearly and provocatively, deserves our close attention." Ethnomusicology

"...a highly creative study of blackface minstrelsy, adds to an already impressive literature on the subject." Journal of Social History

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgments
Dictionariana
Prologue 1
1 Blackface on the Early American Stage 13
2 Blackface in the Streets 30
Blackface Masking 50
Dramatic Characterization 54
3 Jim Crow 62
4 Zip Coon 92
5 Old Dan Tucker 140
Epilogue 163
Notes 171
Bibliography 203
Index 229
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