David MonodMay 19, 2021
Vaudeville and the Making of Modern Entertainment, 1890–1925
University of North Carolina Press 2020
Vaudeville is one of the most famous styles of theater in American history, a font of showbiz legend and the training ground for a generation of stars. It’s also one of the least studied. In his new book, Vaudeville and the Making of Modern Entertainment, 1890-1925 (UNC Press, 2020), Professor David Monod examines Vaudeville as both a cultural form and a for-profit industry, connecting the two to produce a remarkably cohesive portrait of a vast phenomenon. The genre, he argues, was related to a distinctly American form of modernity, offering its vast audiences an enjoyable respite from the pace of modern life—and a way to express and understand the world-shaking experiences of their era.
Sam Backer is a PhD candidate in History at Johns Hopkins, where his work focuses on the intersection of art, culture, and capitalism. He is also a freelance journalist and a podcaster. He is currently a host on “Money 4 Nothing,” a podcast about music and capitalism.