Down With the Old Canoe

Down With the Old Canoe

A Cultural History of the Titanic Disaster

Book - 1997
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Baker & Taylor
Explores how the Titanic disaster became an icon for a variety of groups, including suffragists and their opponents, radicals, reformers, capitalists, critics of technology, racists, and xenophobes

Norton Pub
An immensely readable, provocative, and entertaining exploration of the Titanic as cultural icon.

Blackwell North Amer
"I suggest, henceforth, when a woman talks women's rights, she be answered with the word Titanic, nothing more—just Titanic," wrote a St. Louis man to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He was not alone in mining the ship for a metaphor. Everyone found ammunition in the Titanic—suffragists 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.Protestant sermons used the Titanic to condemn the budding consumer society ("We know the end of . . . the undisturbed sensualists. As they sail the sea of life we know absolutely that their ship will meet disaster."). African American toasts and working-class ballads made the ship emblematic of the foolishness of white people and the greed of the rich. A 1950s revival framed the disaster as an "older kind of disaster in which people had time to die." An ever-increasing number of Titanic buffs find heroism and order in the tale. Still in the headlines ("Titanic Baby Found Alive!" the Weekly World News declares) and a figure of everyday speech ("rearranging deck chairs . . ."), the Titanic disaster echoes within a richly diverse, paradoxical, and fascinating America.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Co., 1997, c 1996
ISBN: 9780393316766
0393316769
9780393039658
039303965X
Characteristics: vii, 300 p. : ill., facsims., ports. ; 21 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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