Titanic Century: Media, Myth, and the Making of a Cultural Icon

Titanic Century: Media, Myth, and the Making of a Cultural Icon

Titanic Century: Media, Myth, and the Making of a Cultural Icon

Titanic Century: Media, Myth, and the Making of a Cultural Icon

Synopsis

This book presents a revealing look at our 100-year fascination with the Titanic disaster and the various media that have been involved in reporting, preserving, and immortalizing the event.

• Illustrated with photographs, a painting, and a movie poster

• A comprehensive bibliography organized according to each of the three parts of the book

• A comprehensive index of subjects and names

• Appendices of several songs and poems pertaining to the Titanic

Excerpt

It is now 100 years and counting since that unforgettable night in April of 1912 when the great ship went down and an incredulous world tried to fathom how such an unthinkable tragedy could have happened. in 1995 an earlier edition of this book appeared in response to renewed interest in the sinking resulting from the discovery of the wreck during the previous decade. By the turn of the millennium, however, I thought closure would finally be brought to one of the defining events of the twentieth century. I assumed that the public and the media’s almost century-long fascination would have ebbed, finally putting an end to my role as a chronicler of that phenomenon. I should have known better. Much has happened since. I was warned at the time that one of the consequences of any writerly engagement with the Titanic is that she will never let go.

Shortly after my book appeared I followed with interest events leading up to the release of James Cameron’s Titanic in 1997. I shared the general opinion of film cognoscenti in believing that movies had exhausted the Titanic as a subject and public interest was on the wane. “Cameron’s folly,” the film was called in the press. It seemed like another Waterworld or Ishtar waiting to happen, only in this case foreshadowed in the most obvious of ways by the resounding box office failure in the early 1980s of Raise the Titanic. Quite the opposite happened. and in one of those strange quirks of fate I was invited to appear in the film as an extra. Circumstances and caution precluded my acceptance. I was in the middle of a teaching semester and found it hard to justify taking a two-week leave to appear in a film that seemed ill fated, was already running over budget and schedule, and contained no A-list stars—Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio were . . .

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