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Confessional Crises and Cultural Politics in Twentieth-Century America

By Dave Tell

Publication Year: 2012

Published by: Penn State University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. 8-9

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

The project now known as Confessional Crises and Cultural Politics in Twentieth- Century America was ten years in the making. Although I often felt alone in front of my computer...

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Introduction: Confessional Crises and Cultural Politics

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pp. 1-19

In contemporary America, the rise of reality TV, the proliferation of daytime talk shows, the endless parade of celebrity confessions, and the insatiable market for fake memoirs such as James...

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1. Confession and Sexuality: True Story Versus Anthony Comstock

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pp. 20-44

In May 1919, the eccentric American health crusader, sexologist, and entrepreneur Bernarr Macfadden published the first issue of True Story Magazine — and thus “the modern confessions industry came into...

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2. Confession and Class: A New True Story

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pp. 45-62

By 1936, when the New Masses put an effeminate, busted, brassiered, fingernail- polished, phallus-fondling caricature of Macfadden on its cover, it had become commonplace to decry...

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3.Confession and Race: Civil Rights, Segregation, and the Murder of Emmett Till

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pp. 63-90

On October 23, 1955, the journalist William Bradford Huie met Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam in the Sumner, Mississippi, law offices of Breland & Whitten. One month earlier, a handpicked, all-white jury deliberated for sixty-seven minutes before declaring...

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4.Confession and Violence: William Styron’s Nat Turner

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pp. 91-118

Twelve years after the death of Emmett Till, the question of confession was once again at the center of American racial politics...

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5. Confession and Religion: Jimmy Swaggart’s Secular Confession

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pp. 119-145

On February 21, 1988, Jimmy Swaggart publicly confessed to the more than eight thousand people crowded into his Baton Rouge Family Worship Center. The confession was, by all accounts...

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6. Confession and Democracy: Clinton, Starr, and the Witch-Hunt Tradition of American Confession

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pp. 146-179

On April 25, 1998, three months into the Monica Lewinsky scandal, President William Jefferson Clinton finally confessed. Theretofore, despite public calls for public confessions, the Clinton administration...

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Conclusion: James Frey and Twenty-First-Century Confessional Culture

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pp. 180-191

On January 8, 2006, the investigative website the Smoking Gun incited a media firestorm by reporting that James Frey’s memoir A Million Little Pieces was filled with “fabrications, falsehoods...

Notes

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pp. 192-212

Bibliography

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pp. 213-226

Index

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pp. 227-238

Back Cover

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p. 239-239


E-ISBN-13: 9780271058344
E-ISBN-10: 027105834X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780271056289
Print-ISBN-10: 0271056282

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Rhetoric and Democratic Deliberation