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Since the show’s debut in 2007, Mad Men has invited viewers to immerse themselves in the lush period settings, ruthless Madison Avenue advertising culture, and arresting characters at the center of its 1960s fictional world. Mad Men, Mad World is a comprehensive analysis of this groundbreaking TV series. Scholars from across the humanities consider the AMC drama from a fascinating array of perspectives, including fashion, history, architecture, civil rights, feminism, consumerism, art, cinema, and the serial format, as well as through theoretical frames such as critical race theory, gender, queer theory, global studies, and psychoanalysis.In the introduction, the editors explore the show’s popularity; its controversial representations of race, class, and gender; its powerful influence on aesthetics and style; and its unique use of period historicism and advertising as a way of speaking to our neoliberal moment. Mad Men, Mad World also includes an interview with Phil Abraham, an award-winning Mad Men director and cinematographer. Taken together, the essays demonstrate that understanding Mad Men means engaging the show not only as a reflection of the 1960s but also as a commentary on the present day.
Contributors. Michael Bérubé, Alexander Doty, Lauren M. E. Goodlad, Jim Hansen, Dianne Harris, Lynne Joyrich, Lilya Kaganovsky, Clarence Lang, Caroline Levine, Kent Ono, Dana Polan, Leslie Reagan, Mabel Rosenheck, Robert A. Rushing, Irene Small, Michael Szalay, Jeremy Varon
One of the most critically acclaimed and culturally fetishized television shows of the past decade receives an intellectual deconstruction in this collection of academic essays. Sixteen entries address the broad range of historical, cultural, and philosophical elements of the series' settings, situations, and characters. Collectively, they combat the show's "altered... vision of the 1960s, and of pastness itself." This is done most eloquently in Jeremy Varon's piece, "History Gets in Your Eyes: Mad Men, Misrecognition, and the Masculine Mystique," wherein he argues that the show is rooted in fantasy, and while the program "does not entirely escape the question of history," it does miss "an opportunity to engage it more deeply." Mabel Rosenheck asserts in "Swing Skirts and Swinging Singles: Mad Men, Fashion & Cultural Memory" that the show's meticulous detail derives not from a desire to achieve historical accuracy but from a "contemporary negotiation of past and present and a representation of the performance of cultural memory." Throughout the book are intelligent discussions dissecting the central themes addressed in the show, such as masculinity and feminism, identity, and race relations and representations. Perhaps too academic for the casual Mad Men fan, the book nevertheless accomplishes the admirable feat of offering considerable critique and examination from a standpoint of admiration and fandom. Photos.