Monday, July 16, 2012

Women, Popular Culture, and the Eighteenth Century edited by Tiffany Potter

The eighteenth century is quite present in the twenty-first century. It's found in the Jane Austen novels read by bookclubs and the movies that are made from those novels. It's in our ideas of performers and performance, writing and writers, and romance. It's in the way we think about the past and how the past informs the present. Women, Popular Culture, and the Eighteenth Century brings together the work of scholars from Canada, the United States, and around the world who explore the construction of culture and pop culture over the last four hundred years and what it means for women and society today.

When I saw the title of this book in NetGalley, I knew I had to read it. I love reading about popular culture and I have spent a lot of time thinking about women and femininity, so this seemed like a perfect fit. I was extremely pleased to find that the book not only covers culture in the eighteenth century but also how it exists and interacts in today's world. Recent film adaptations of Jane Austen novels, novels set in the seventeen hundreds, and mash-ups (like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) are all explored. There were also several areas that I had not read about before, including the role that women played in the development of the cookbook industry, stage performances and how they mirrored and directed ideas of womanhood, and the phenomenon of riddles and quizzing. The book has an academic tone and approach. It's been a few years now since I did a lot of academic reading for school, but that didn't stop me from enjoying this book. If you have an interest in any one of the three areas mentioned in the title make sure to check this book out; if you have an interest in more than one of the areas, this is the book for you.

I received a review copy from NetGalley courtesy of University of Toronto Press.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue
Love in Excess by Eliza Haywood
Artistic Impressions by Mary Louise Adams
According to Queeney by Beryl Bainbridge

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