Twilight of the Idols
Hollywood and the Human Sciences in 1920s America
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of California Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quote
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Table of Contents
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List of Illustrations
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Every author knows that books have no real beginnings or endings. It is impos-sible for me to say exactly where or when Twilight of the Idols took shape, but its fi rst incarnation as a manuscript was as a doctoral thesis I wrote at the University of Rochester. Th us, my fi rst thanks go to a wonderful dissertation committee, each of whom pushed me to think about mass media and personality in new ...
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Inarguably one of the most important and infl uential essays written about mass culture during the last century, Walter Benjamin’s “Th e Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility,” is itself one of the most reproduced, translated, and widely circulated works of cultural criticism ever published. Twilight of the Idols, like so many other books, is an implicit engagement with several of the ...
Chapter 1. The Early Hollywood Scandals and the Death of Wallace Reid
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Just aft er the First World War, the word junkie entered into American parlance to describe a population of heroin addicts— a visible and growing population of male derelicts in and around New York City— who supported their drug habit by scouring that city’s junkyards in search of scrap metal, which they then sold to junk dealers. As medical historian David Courtwright has noted, the emergence ...
Chapter 2. Psychoanalysis and Fandom in the Leopold and Loeb Trial
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I’m a bit interested every time some witness testifi es we said something which we never did say; in this way I learn many things about myself I Th e newspapers could not stop writing about Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb during the summer of 1924. From the time the two young men were arrested for the abduction and murder of fourteen- year- old Bobby Franks in late May until ...
Chapter 3. Queer Valentino
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Almost every biography of Rudolph Valentino begins with a dramatic descrip-tion of the pop u lar fi lm star’s death in August of 1926 and with the notorious riot that erupted on the fi rst day of his lying in state at Campbell’s Funeral Church in New York City. Tens of thousands of his fans— as well as admirers, well- wishers, and the morbidly curious— stood in line all morning just to get a glimpse of Val-...
Chapter 4. Black Valentino
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In an interview in 1985, Lorenzo Tucker, the African American matinee idol of the 1920s and 1930s, commented on Oscar Micheaux’s strategy of billing him as the “colored Valentino,” a promotional label that supposedly occurred to Micheaux while encountering publicity for Rudolph Valentino’s Th e Son of the Yeah, it worked. And I kind of looked like Valentino, too. But I never got any white ...
Chapter 5. Mabel Normand and the Ends of Error
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Psychologist casuistry.—Th is individual is an expert in the knowledge of men: for what end is he actually studying men? He wants to get some little advantages over them, or even some great advantages— he is politicus! . . . Th at [other] individual is also an expert in the knowledge of men, and you say he wants nothing for himself thereby, he is one of the grand “imper-...
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Page Count: 238
Publication Year: 2011