Read *It*; Talk about *It*; Blog *It*

The Eighteenth-Century Reading Group here at the University of Maryland will next be discussing Joe Roach’s It (University of Michigan Press).  We will meet on Friday, Feb 8 from 1-3. It would be great if others want to read along with us and post their responses. Would there be interest in a McKeon-style “collaborative reading” again?  Maybe we could start posting a few days before the discussion?


UPDATE (via DM): Here’s the link.


10 responses to “Read *It*; Talk about *It*; Blog *It*

  1. dave mazella

    I’m game. We haven’t done one in a while, and this sounds like a good candidate. Laura, can you post publication information so others can join in?



  2. laurarosenthal

    Joseph Roach, *It* (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007). Available on Amazon for about $14. Here are some blurbs:

    “Strikingly original, wickedly witty, and thoroughly learned, Roach’s anatomy of abnormally interesting people and the vicarious pleasure we take in our modern equivalents to gods and royals will captivate its readers from the first page. I dare you to read just one chapter!”

    —Felicity Nussbaum, University of California, Los Angeles

    “It considers the effect that arises when spectacularly compelling performers and cultural fantasy converge, as in the outpouring of public grief over the death of Princess Diana. . . . An important work of cultural history, full of metaphysical wit . . . It gives us a fresh vocabulary for interpreting how after-images endure in cultural memory.”

    —Andrew Sofer, Boston College

    “Joseph Roach’s enormous erudition, sharp wit, engaging style, and gift for finding the most telling historical detail or literary quote are here delightfully applied to the intriguing subject of why certain historical and theatrical figures have possessed a special power to fascinate their public.”

    —Marvin Carlson, Graduate Center, City University of New York

    That mysterious characteristic “It”—“the easily perceived but hard-to-define quality possessed by abnormally interesting people”—is the subject of Joseph Roach’s engrossing new book, which crisscrosses centuries and continents with a deep playfulness that entertains while it enlightens.

    Roach traces the origins of “It” back to the period following the Restoration, persuasively linking the sex appeal of today’s celebrity figures with the attraction of those who lived centuries before. The book includes guest appearances by King Charles II, Samuel Pepys, Flo Ziegfeld, Johnny Depp, Elinor Glyn, Clara Bow, the Second Duke of Buckingham, John Dryden, Michael Jackson, and Lady Diana, among others.

  3. Count me in for this–I’m still waiting for my copy but could imagine posting in early Feb. !!

  4. David Mazella

    Carrie, great hearing from you. We’ll divvy up the chapters in the next day or so.



  5. Laura Rosenthal

    Thanks, Carrie. That’s fabulous.

  6. Anna Battigelli is also onboard. DM

  7. In the interest of research and just plain interest, I just watched *It* (thanks to Netflix) on dvd. Bow’s performance is quite fascinating, in light of Roach’s argument. The movie also features a cameo by Madame Elinor Glyn herself.

  8. Dwight Codr is onboard as well. DM

  9. Laura Rosenthal

    Hello All:

    Here is the posting schedule:

    Laura Rosenthal : introduction Feb 13
    Laura Engel : chapter 1 : accessories Feb 15
    Tita Chico : chapter 2 : clothes Feb 17
    Anna Battegelli : chapter 3 : hair Feb 19
    Carrie Hintz: chapter 4: skin Feb 20
    Dwight Codr: chapter 5: flesh Feb 22
    Dave Mazella : chapter 6 : bone Feb 24

    Let me know if you want anything changed around.

  10. Laura Rosenthal

    Update: Dwight and Carrie switched chapters. Everything else is the same.