Academic journal article American Studies

MAD MEN, MAD WORLD: Sex, Politics, Style and the 1960s

Academic journal article American Studies

MAD MEN, MAD WORLD: Sex, Politics, Style and the 1960s

Article excerpt

MAD MEN, MAD WORLD: Sex, Politics, Style and the 1960s. Edited by Lauren M. E. Goodlad, Lilya Kaganovsky, and Robert A. Rushing. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 2013.

The most recent collection generated from a conference at the University of Il- linois Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, Mad Men, Mad World covers mostly the first four seasons of the television show, which is now in its seventh and final season. The unit's weblog, Kritik (unitcrit.blogspot.com) currently recapping Season 7, now includes a header explaining that it is "in collaboration with the publication" of the book. The decision to publish before the series conclusion means that critics' judgments about the ultimate meaning of the show may be defied by Mad Men's as-yet unseen narrative resolution. However, set in media res, Mad Men, Mad World can be read as the academic version of a tie-in, a companion to the show's final sea- sons and a guidebook to the Mad-blogosphere-but it may require a second edition.

Editors Goodlad, Kaganovsky and Rushing argue that Mad Men is a "ground- breaking approach to period drama" that has "altered the vision of the 1960s and of pastness itself" (2) as well as a strategically anachronistic representation of advertising that enables audiences to "explore the moral quandaries of a corrupting world"(15). Taking issue with Mark Greif's dismissal of the show as an exercise in "Now We Know Better," Mad Men, Mad World's essayists offer more complex argu- ments about what the 1960s mean in the present and how historical fiction works in general (Greif, "You'll Love the Way it Makes You Feel," London Review of Books, October 23, 2008). The deliberateness of the show's producers makes Mad Men an excellent focal point for analysis that includes images, fashion, and architecture. Its critical reception allows authors to discuss the values of elite taste in the present; its approach to advertising throws the importance of television as the ultimate medium of consumption into high relief.

In addition to connecting the series to the history of advertising, Mad Men, Mad World addresses the relationship of Mad Men to films and novels from the 1950s and 1960s and to television history. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.