The Man in the Bowler Hat: His History and Iconography

Overview

Reflects a new understanding of modernism by following the fortunes of a single item of fashion.

"When Fred Miller Robinson tugs the bowler from the closet in The Man in the Bowler Hat: His History and Iconography, a wealth of cultural and social baggage comes tumbling out after it."--Esquire

"Entertaining and enlightening. . . . A scholarly, thoughtful, and well-documented cultural critique."--Journal of Popular Culture

"A hundred years of ...

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Overview

Reflects a new understanding of modernism by following the fortunes of a single item of fashion.

"When Fred Miller Robinson tugs the bowler from the closet in The Man in the Bowler Hat: His History and Iconography, a wealth of cultural and social baggage comes tumbling out after it."--Esquire

"Entertaining and enlightening. . . . A scholarly, thoughtful, and well-documented cultural critique."--Journal of Popular Culture

"A hundred years of Western culture pulled out of a bowler hat--it's quite a trick, and Robinson accomplishes it with considerable flourish."--Roger Shattuck, Boston University

"An attempt to penetrate the bowler's significance in art, literature, and life. . . . [Robinson] has ferreted out plenty of curious and varied information, he has some nice observations of detail, and he offers a good deal to enlighten and amuse."--New Yorker

"A witty, well-written, scrupulously researched book that is a wonderful fusion of genres: social history, cultural history, and something that falls between belles lettres and fiction."--Dore Ashton, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

Originally published in 1993.

A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

By following the fortunes of a single item of fashion--the bowler or derby hat--Robinson unfolds a cultural history of modernism and modern life. In this innovative book, Robinson pursues the bowler's intriguing history through an illustrated tour of art, literature, fashion, politics, and film up to the present day. 52 illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Hats off to Mr. Robinson."—New York Times Book Review

"A study as lighthearted and charming as its subject. . . . A tip of the hat to this playful yet thought-provoking work."—Kirkus Reviews

"When Fred Miller Robinson tugs the bowler from the closet in The Man in the Bowler Hat: His History and Iconography, a wealth of cultural and social baggage comes tumbling out after it."—Esquire

"A highly diverting book."—Parade Magazine

"Entertaining and enlightening. . . . A scholarly, thoughtful, and well-documented cultural critique."—Journal of Popular Culture

Booknews
This book grew out of an article: "The History and Significance of the Bowler Hat: Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Beckett, Magritte and Kundera," TriQuarterly 66, Spring/Summer 1986. Going beyond simply compiling a compendium as he sorted through abundant material (mostly visual; little has been written on the bowler hat), Robinson (English, U. of San Diego) studies the culture of modern life by tracing the origins and fortunes of a single fashion item. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807865859
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 1/27/2011
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 0.46 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 10.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Sabina's Bowler 1
The Bowler and Modern Times 4
The Vestimentary Sign 6
The Man in the Open Air 8
1 Origins
The Iron Hat 14
The Country Hat and the City Hat 17
Bowlers and Toppers 21
Utilitarian Dress 23
Modern Gentlemen 27
2 The Watchers of Modern Life
Fashion and Type 31
Little People at Large 33
Gawkers in Crowds 46
La Parade 52
Nobodies at Home 54
3 Music Hall and Silent Film
Temples of Modernity 58
Lautrec 66
Chaplin 74
The Boys 79
4 The Weimar Bowler
The Bowler as Icon 89
Pinneberg and Biberkopf 92
Chaplinesque 96
Matters of Fact 101
The Republic of the Burghers 106
The Jews' Steel Helmet 112
Macheath 118
5 Magritte's Mannequins
Dream Advertisements 125
Ready-Made Experience 131
The Subversive Everyday 134
Magritte au chapeau 140
Liberated Accessories 145
6 Beckett's Tramps
Knockabout 149
Hats of Our Fathers 152
The Psychology of Hats 156
Passing the Time Profitably 157
Bowler Business 160
Postscript: The Postwar Bowler
Oddjob 165
Dress and Costume 166
Bowler Drag 170
The Sign of the Modern 174
Notes 177
Bibliography 187
Index 195
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