Cities of the Dead

Circum-Atlantic Performance

Joseph Roach

Columbia University Press

Cities of the Dead

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Pub Date: April 1996

ISBN: 9780231104616

320 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $34.00£27.95

Pub Date: April 1996

ISBN: 9780231104609

320 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $100.00£83.95

Cities of the Dead

Circum-Atlantic Performance

Joseph Roach

Columbia University Press

The colorful handmade costumes of beads and feathers swirl frenetically, as the Mardi Gras Indians dance through the streets of New Orleans in remembrance of a widely disputed cultural heritage. Iroquois Indians visit London in the early part of the eighteenth century and give birth to the "feathered people" in the British popular imagination.

What do these seemingly disparate strands of culture share over three hundred years and several thousand miles of ocean? Artfully interweaving theatrical, musical, and ritual performance from the eighteenth century to the present in London and New Orleans, Cities of the Dead takes a look at a rich continuum of intercultural exchange that reinvents, recreates, and restores history.

Complemented with fifty-five illustrations, including spectacular photos of the famed Mardi Gras Indians, this fascinating work employs an entirely unique approach to the study of culture. Rather than focusing on one region, Cities of the Dead explores broad cultural connections over place and time, showing through myriad examples how performance can revise the unwritten past.
Preface
Acknowledgments
1. Introduction: History, Memory, and Performance
Circum-Atlantic Memory
Locations and Bearings
Materials and Methods
The Everlasting Club
Genealogies of Performance
2. Echoes in the Bone
The Effigy
Performing Origins
The Segregation of the Dead
Bodies of Law
Congo Sqaure
The King is Dead-Long Live the King!
3. Betterton's Funeral
"Sticks and Rags": The Celebrity as Effigy
Vortices of Behavior
The Life of Betterton: Talking with the Dad
Canonical Memory and Theatrical Nationhood
The Pinacotheca BettertonaeanaL Bibliography of origin
White SKin, Black Masks
4. Feathered Peoples
The Accursed Share: Abundance, Reproduction, and Sacrifice
Condolence Councils and the Great Peace
Windsor Forest Dimplomacy

Winner, 1997 James Russell Lowell Prize

About the Author

Joseph Roach is professor of English at Tulane University. He is the author of The Player's Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting, which won the Barnard Hewitt Award, and coeditor, with Janeele Reinelt, of Critical Theory and Performance.