The Wow Climax: Tracing the Emotional Impact of Popular Culture / Edition 1

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Overview

Vaudevillians used the term "the wow climax" to refer to the emotional highpoint of their acts-a final moment of peak spectacle following a gradual building of the audience's emotions. Viewed by most critics as vulgar and sensationalistic, the vaudeville aesthetic was celebrated by other writers for its vitality, its liveliness, and its playfulness. The Wow Climax follows in the path of this more laudatory tradition, drawing out the range of emotions in popular culture and mapping what we might call an aesthetic of immediacy. It pulls together a range of spirited work from Henry Jenkins, one of our most astute media scholars, that spans different media (film, television, literature, comics, and games), genres (slapstick, melodrama, horror, exploitation cinema), and emotional reactions (shock, laughter, sentimentality). Whether highlighting the sentimentality at the heart of the Lassie franchise, examining the emotional experiences created by horror filmmakers like Wes Craven and David Cronenberg and avant garde artist Matthew Barney, or discussing the emerging aesthetics of video games, these essays get to the heart of what gives popular culture its emotional impact.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Building on the tradition of social commentators such as Gilbert Seldes, Robert Warshow, and Susan Sontag, Henry Jenkins brings his outstanding insight and compassionate counsel to contemporary cultural phenomena. Here not only media, but affect, matters. A delightful and helpful collection on popular pleasures.”
-Janet Staiger,author of Media Reception Studies

“Offers a lively, diligently researched, and well-written account of one scholar's engagement with the emotional punch of media.”
-PsycCRITIQUES

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814742839
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 12/24/2006
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 285
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Henry Jenkins is Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts, and Education at USC. He is author of five books, most recently Convergence Culture (2008), Fans, Bloggers, and Gamers (2006), The Wow Climax (2006), all available from NYU Press, and is co-author or editor of eight other books on media and communication.

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Wow!     1
The Lively Arts
Games, the New Lively Art     19
Monstrous Beauty and Mutant Aesthetics: Rethinking Matthew Barney's Relation to the Horror Genre     41
The Immediate Experience
Death-Defying Heroes     65
Never Trust a Snake: WWF Wrestling as Masculine Melodrama     75
Exploiting Feminism in Stephanie Rothman's Terminal Island     102
"You Don't Say That in English!": The Scandal of Lupe Velez     125
Welcome to the Playground
"Going Bonkers!": Children, Play, and Pee-Wee     159
"Complete Freedom of Movement": Video Games as Gendered Play Spaces     185
"Her Suffering Aristocratic Majesty": The Sentimental Value of Lassie     215
Notes     247
Index     273
About the Author     285
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