Well Met: Renaissance Faires and the American Counterculture Hardcover – Nov 19 2012
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"Anti-modernism remains one of modernity's most significant and lasting inventions, and in Rachel Rubin's Well Met the theme finally gets its due. In the odd but telling subculture of the Renaissance Faire, Rubin finds anti-modernism intertwined with some of the most important strands of twentieth-century American culture-waning traces of vaudeville, the rise of the counterculture, shifting gender arrangements and sexual practices, a hunger for usable pasts, a rising politics of theatricality, and the culture's impressive penchant for commercialized anti-commercialism. Rubin writes with deep insight and terrific humor; and as intelligent as the book is, it also embodies a joyful appreciation for the quirky inventiveness of its protagonists. I can't wait for the movie!"-Matthew Frye Jacobson,Yale University "In its first decade, the Renaissance Faire unleashed a multi-colored sub-culture in direct revolt against the monochrome of postwar America. It was a home-grown explosion of fancy dress, Shakespearian improv, hand-made objects both useful and ornamental, and music ancient and obscure, much of it heard for the first time in the dusty lanes of the Faire. Rachel Rubin deftly reveals the impact the Faire has had on style, craft, performance, and pop culture over the past fifty years in a one-of-a-kind study that begins in the left-wing lanes of Laurel Canyon, continues through backstage conflicts and couplings, and concludes with the corporatized, commercialized Festivals and geeky Ren-fandom of today. Well Met is a must-read to revel in the true roots of 'Sixties' culture. I know. I was there."-David Ossman,member of the Firesign Theatre "Fascinating account of the evolution of a US institution."-Choice "Academic but pleasingly readable."-Ander Monson,LA Review of Books "Rubin effectively probes how the [Renaissance] fairs exemplify familiar aspects of the American counterculture. She also seeks to illuminate how they are important not only as a forgotten aspect of a completed history but also as vibrant contemporary affairs ... They are, for Rubin, spaces of continued counter-cultural activity that, through constant renegotiations of the past, invoke visions of future potential renaissances for a United States stuck in the dark ages."-Michael J. Kramer,Journal of American History "[C]areful, informative, and thought-provoking ... Well Met is packed with welcome detours into fascinating historical byways."-Slate "Rubin's book is a trailblazer."-Colorado Springs Independent "A must read for anyone interested in a nonstereotypical view of the faire, its adherents, and why it retains its appeal decades after its inception."-Library Journal "Rubin wins over readers ... she argues compellingly."-H-Net Reviews "Fascinating [and] forthcoming."-San Francisco Bay Guardian "The strength of Rachel Lee Rubin's book is that she understands and celebrates this-the point of Renaissance fairs is that a lot of people find pleasure in them."-Durrants
About the Author
Rachel Lee Rubin is Professor of American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is author of Immigration and American Popular Culture (with Jeffrey Melnick, NYU Press) and Jewish Gangsters of Modern Literature, and co-editor of American Popular Music: New Approaches to the Twentieth Century and Radicalism in the South since Reconstruction.
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