The Marx Brothers: A Bio-Bibliography

The Marx Brothers: A Bio-Bibliography

The Marx Brothers: A Bio-Bibliography

The Marx Brothers: A Bio-Bibliography

Excerpt

The goal of this work is to present a combined biographical, critical, and bibliographical estimate of the Marx Brothers's significance in film comedy, the arts in general, and as popular culture icons. The book is divided into five chapters. Chapter 1 is a Marx Brothers biography, which explores the public and private sides of their lives. The focus is on Groucho, Harpo, and Chico--the dominant comedy team members and the only ones to develop clear and definable comedy personae. But where it is pertinent, the involvement of the less well-known Brothers, Zeppo, and Gummo, is, of course, examined.

Of the key three, Groucho decidedly evolves as the central player scrutinized in this group biography for three reasons. First, over time Groucho has unmistakably been the Marx Brother most favored by the public (as well as the only one to launch a solo career after the group's demise), the available literature is overwhelmingly concentrated on him. For instance, easily the best group biography of the team is, ironically, one which purports to be only of the mustached one--Hector Arce Groucho. Second, Groucho has added to this documentation by writing or co-writing eight books, versus a total of one by the rest of the team. Moreover, as the literary figures of old, Groucho left an additional body of writing in his copious correspondence, one volume of which was published before his death. And third, Groucho outlived all his Brothers and was able to take a central role in the Marx Brothers revival of the 1960s and 1970s. Thus, he came to represent both the team and the final word on all things "Marxian."

Chapter 2 is a critique of the four ongoing broad influences of the Marxes--as unique icons of both comedy and the anti-establishment; as major contributors to new developments in American humor, from direct involvement in antiheroic humor during its beginnings to the idealized models they represent for more recent followers of black comedy; as pivotal early examples of what might best . . .

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