Synopses & Reviews
Blackface conventions both criticized the changes occurring in antebellum American life and helped shape images of race, gender, and class. Through the songs, dances, jokes, parodies, spoofs, and skits of blackface, white performers could satirize majority values without directly attacking them. Burnt cork served as a masking device for these entertainers, shielding them from any direct personal identification with the material they were performing.
Behind the Burnt Cork Mask reassesses relationships between blackface comedy and other genres and traditions of Western theater; between the music of minstrel shows and its European sources; between blackface performance and socially constructed identities; and between "popular" and "elite" culture.
Table of Contents
List of musical examples -- Preface -- Abbreviations -- Introduction -- Revisiting minstrelsy's history: the playbill and contextual -- Evidence -- Blackface parodies of American speech and rhetoric: burlesque -- Lectures and sermons, political orations, comic dialogues and stories -- Opera for the masses: burlesques of English and Italian opera -- Ethiopian sketches of American life: skits, farces, and afterpieces -- Vocal and choral repertories of blackface minstrelsy -- Minstrelsy, masculinity, and social rituals -- Vocal and choral repertories of blackface minstrelsy -- Blackface minstrelsy and misogyny -- Finale -- Appendixes -- Rosters of Antebellum minstrel companies -- Representative finales from selected minstrel shows -- Song text frequency in selected Antebellum songsters -- Notes -- Works cited -- Index.