Synopses & Reviews
The dark side of the Gilded Age is revealed in this richly narrated new view of turn-of-the-century New York. American culture scholar M.H. Dunlop penetrates the psyche of New York city in the pivotal years made famous by Edith Wharton and by families like the Vanderbilts and the Rockefellers, unveiling a Gilded Age that was not genteel and proper but dangerous and predatory. She shows us a society whose drives and desires speak familiarly to our own. Drawing on rare primary sources, Dunlop focuses each chapter on an event hat showcases a singular facet of America as reflected in its most prominenet city. The passions and preoccupations of the time emerge in Dunlop's edgy portraits of sensational events that riveted the public, including a wealthy society wedding where locals were trampled in their frenzy to watch; a bachelor dinner during which men sliced off the girl dancers' dresses; the harrowing nine-hour execution of a zoo elephant diagnosed with sexual frustration; and more. With her unerring eye for the vivid details that expose the truth of the time, M.H. Dunlop has shone a spotlight on the American mind.
The dark side of the Gilded Age is revealed in this vivid new view of turn-of-the-century New York. Scholar of American culture M. H. Dunlop penetrates the psyche of New York City in the pivotal years made famous by Edith Wharton, the Vanderbilts, and the Rockefellers, unveiling an age that was not genteel and proper but dangerous and predatory.
Drawing on rare primary sources, Dunlop showcases the sensational and surreal events of the times -- from a wealthy society wedding where locals were trampled in their frenzy to watch, to the harrowing nine-hour execution of a zoo elephant diagnosed with sexual frustration, and more. Spiced with cameos of such characters as Stanford White, William Merritt Chase, the Midnight Band of Mercy, and exotic dancer Little Egypt, Gilded City brings to life a key era that saw the city rise to dominance in America.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -287) and index.
About the Author
M.H. Dunlop holds a Ph.D. in American literature from George Washington University. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in nineteenth century American literature and culture at Iowa State University and has published widely on those topics. She is the author of Sixty Miles from Contentment: Traveling the Nineteenth-Century American Interior. She lives in Ames, Iows.