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Demons of Disorder


  • 16 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 258 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.38 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 791/.12/0973
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: ML1711 .C63 1997
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Minstrel shows--History
    • Minstrel music--United States--History and criticism
    • Blackface entertainers--United States
    • Dixon, George Washington,--1808-1861
    • United States--Social conditions--19th century

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521568289 | ISBN-10: 0521568285)

  • Also available in Hardback
  • Published July 1997

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$36.99 (C)

Carnival, charivari, mumming plays, peasant festivals, and even early versions of the Santa Claus myth--all of these forms of entertainment influenced and shaped blackface minstrelsy in the first half of the nineteenth century. In his fascinating study Demons of Disorder, musicologist Dale Cockrell studies issues of race and class by analyzing their cultural expressions, and investigates the roots of still-remembered songs such as "Jim Crow," "Zip Coon," and "Dan Tucker." The first book on the blackface tradition written by a leading musicologist, Demons of Disorder is an important achievement in music history and culture.


1. Blackface on the early American stage; 2. Blackface in the streets; 3. Jim Crow; 4. Zip Coon; 5. Old Dan Tucker.

Prize Winner

the C. Hugh Holman Award of the Society for the Study of Literature


"...merits the attention of students and scholars in theater, anthropology, law, and sociology, as well as music....Recommended for upper-division undergraduates through faculty." Choice

"In this original and subtly written work, Cockrell demonstrates the value of a focused analysis of minstrlsy in a particular time and place--an approach that stands to enhance the study of all periods of minstrel history. Demons of Disorder offers an important corrective to postmodernist scholarship in asserting that understanding cultural meanings requires not simply theoretical speculation but careful examination of the historical record." Howard L. Sacks, American Music

"...required reading for anyone wishing to grasp the depth of meaning and the range of opinion on blackface minstrelsy." Brian Thompson, Notes

"This book, which unpacks so much about the phenomenon clearly and provocatively, deserves our close attention." Ethnomusicology

"...a highly creative study of blackface minstrelsy, adds to an already impressive literature on the subject." Journal of Social History

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