Down With the Old Canoe

Down With the Old Canoe

A Cultural History of the Titanic Disaster

Book - 1996
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An exploration of the Titanic as a cultural icon, this book recalls the moment, in April 1912, when the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank. The disaster was the signal for many people, such as reformers, radicals and extremists of all kinds, to exploit it: suffragettes and their opponents, radicals, reformers and capitalists, critics of technology and modern life; racists and xenophobes, and champions of racial and ethnic equality; editorial writers and folk singers, preachers and poets. Even today, the Titanic echoes in the headlines and in everyday speech. This text analyzes how and why the disaster happened, and why it took shape as one of the great mythic events of the 20th century.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c1996
ISBN: 9780393039658
039303965X
Branch Call Number: 910.453 Biel
Characteristics: vii, 300 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 22 cm

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kalio
Dec 23, 2011

Why are we so fascinated by the Titanic? Is it the hubris of its era, the excessive luxury coupled with the sub-par safety measures? Is it all the ?what ifs? that could have prevented the disaster, from the ignored ice warnings to the nearby ship that could have saved every soul on board had it ventured to find out what was going on? Is it the striking class differences that meant Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff Gordon set sail in a lifeboat built for forty with only three other passengers and seven crewmen to row them, while hundreds of third class passengers were kept below decks until the last minute? Author Stephen Biel explores the cultural history of the Titanic, from its effect on the suffrage movement (the old standby of ?women and children first? meant that men were made into easy heroes who stood for strength and power while the women survivors were weaklings who needed protection) to the commercialization of the disaster in the form of books (including his own), movies, and exhibitions. He touches on all of Titanic?s roles throughout history: news sensation, metaphor, commodity, and entertainment. Regardless of how much time goes by, Titanic will always give us something to talk about.

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