The colorful handmade costumes of beads and feathers swirl frenetically, as the Mardi Gras Indians dance through the streets of New Orleans in remembrance of a widely disputed cultural heritage. Iroquois Indians visit London in the early part of the eighteenth century and give birth to the "feathered people" in the British popular imagination. What do these seemingly disparate strands of culture share over three hundred years and several thousand miles of ocean? Artfully interweaving theatrical, musical, and ritual performance from the eighteenth century to the present in London and New Orleans, Cities of the Dead takes a look at a rich continuum of intercultural exchange that reinvents, recreates, and restores history. Complemented with fifty-five illustrations, including spectacular photos of the famed Mardi Gras Indians, this fascinating work employs an entirely unique approach to the study of culture. Rather than focusing on one region, Cities of the Dead explores broad cultural connections over place and time, showing through myriad examples how performance can revise the unwritten past.
Joseph Roach is professor of English at Tulane University. He is the author of The Player's Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting, which won the Barnard Hewitt Award, and coeditor, with Janeele Reinelt, of Critical Theory and Performance.
Preface Acknowledgments 1. Introduction: History, Memory, and Performance Circum-Atlantic Memory Locations and Bearings Materials and Methods The Everlasting Club Genealogies of Performance 2. Echoes in the Bone The Effigy Performing Origins The Segregation of the Dead Bodies of Law Congo Sqaure The King is Dead-Long Live the King! 3. Betterton's Funeral "Sticks and Rags": The Celebrity as Effigy Vortices of Behavior The Life of Betterton: Talking with the Dad Canonical Memory and Theatrical Nationhood The Pinacotheca BettertonaeanaL Bibliography of origin White SKin, Black Masks 4. Feathered Peoples The Accursed Share: Abundance, Reproduction, and Sacrifice Condolence Councils and the Great Peace Windsor Forest Dimplomacy