The Irish and the Origins of American Popular Culture

1st Edition

Christopher Dowd

Routledge
Published February 20, 2018
Reference - 216 Pages - 12 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781138636750 - CAT# Y323171
Series: Routledge Studies in Cultural History

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Summary

This book focuses on the intersection between the assimilation of the Irish into American life and the emergence of an American popular culture, which took place at the same historical moment in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During this period, the Irish in America underwent a period of radical change. Initially existing as a marginalized, urban-dwelling, immigrant community largely comprised of survivors of the Great Famine and those escaping its aftermath, Irish Americans became an increasingly assimilated group with new social, political, economic, and cultural opportunities open to them. Within just a few generations, Irish-American life transformed so significantly that grandchildren hardly recognized the world in which their grandparents had lived. This pivotal period of transformation for Irish Americans was heavily shaped and influenced by emerging popular culture, and in turn, the Irish-American experience helped shape the foundations of American popular culture in such a way that the effects are still noticeable today. Dowd investigates the primary segments of early American popular culture—circuses, stage shows, professional sports, pulp fiction, celebrity culture, and comic strips—and uncovers the entanglements these segments had with the development of Irish-American identity.

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