Book Cover
Author Sentilles, Renée M.

Title Performing Menken : Adah Isaacs Menken and the birth of American celebrity / Renée M. Sentilles
Published Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2003
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource (xi, 313 pages) : illustrations
Contents Playing Deborah -- Playing the pugilist's wife: 1859-1860 -- Performing Mazeppa -- Performing Menken -- Among the Bohemians -- Becoming Mazeppa -- Becoming the Menken: 1864-1866 -- Finale -- Remembering and rewriting Menken
Summary "Performing Menken uses the life experiences of controversial actress and poet Adah Isaacs Menken to examine the culture of the Civil War period. Menken succeeded by playing with her identity off-stage and on, portraying herself as both respectable and daring and claiming various racial and ethnic identities. Playing male roles on stage, she became the reigning femme fatale. Yet she was also known as an intellectual, publishing poetry and essays. She shared friendships with the greatest writers of her time, including Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, and Alexandre Dumas, pere." "Performing Menken also looks at what Menken's choices reveal about her period. It explores the roots of the cult of celebrity that emerged from the crucible of war. While discussing Menken's racial and ethnic claims and her performance of gender and sexuality, Performing Menken focuses on contemporary use of social categories to explain patterns in America's past and considers why such categories remain important."--Jacket
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 287-302) and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Menken, Adah Isaacs, 1835-1868.
Actors -- United States -- Biography.
Genre/Form Biography.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 1139236954 (electronic bk.)
1139336533 (electronic bk.)
9781139236959 (electronic bk.)
9781139336536 (electronic bk.)