Sunday, May 1, 2011

Name That Audience

 What is this audience doing? The answer is after the jump.

They are celebrating the arrival of opera star Jenny Lind in New York in 1850.

Actually, this is a detail view from satiric image that first appeared in London's Punch (October 5, 1850). It was intended to mock the outrageous public excitement over Jenny Lind's national tour and emphasize Americans as country bumpkins, lacking refinement. (The stereotype of "Yankee Doodle" survived among the British long after the Seven Years War!). Even in the United States, cartoons that negatively depicted the behavior of working class, immigrant, and rural audiences--often by equating them with unruly mobs--became more common in newspapers after the Civil War, as genteel reformers sought to make contrasts between older forms of popular audiencing and what they perceived as their own more reverent engagement with art and culture.

I think I'm going to make "Name That Audience" a regular feature of this blog--look for it on Sundays.

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