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The Most American Thing In American: Circuit Chautauqua as Performance

By CANNING

Item #9781587295850

19.95
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Charlotte Canning is Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Centennial Professor in Drama in the Department of Theatre and Dance, College of Fine Arts. She also teaches at the Center for Women's and Gender Studies, and the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies, College of Liberal Arts.
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Theatre historians have largely ignored Circuit Chautauquas since they did not meet the conventional conditions of theatrical performance: they were not urban; they produced no innovative performance techniques, stage material, design effects, or dramatic literature. In this beautifully written and illustrated book, Charlotte Canning establishes an analytical framework to reveal the Circuit Chautauquas as unique performances that both created and unified small-town America. One of the last strongholds of the American traditions of rhetoric and oratory, the Circuits created complex intersections of community, American democracy, and performance. Canning does not celebrate the Circuit Chautauquas wholeheartedly, nor does she describe them with the same cynicism offered by Sinclair Lewis. She acknowledges their goals of community support, informed public thinking, and popular education but also focuses on the reactionary and regressive ideals they sometimes embraced. In the true interdisciplinary spirit of Circuit Chautauquas, she reveals the Circuit platforms as places where Americans performed what it meant to be American

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