If it Worked for Mary. . . Mary Pickford’s Daily Talks with the Fans

Brouwers, Anke (2013) If it Worked for Mary. . . Mary Pickford’s Daily Talks with the Fans. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsacta/3823. In: Researching Women in Silent Cinema: New Findings and Perspectives. A cura di: Dall'Asta, Monica ; Duckett, Victoria ; Tralli, Lucia. Bologna: Dipartimento delle Arti - DAR, Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, pp. 197-219. ISBN 9788898010103. In: Women and Screen Cultures, (1). A cura di: Dall'Asta, Monica ; Duckett, Victoria. ISSN 2283-6462.
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In the nineteenth century, advice literature (conduct, courtesy or etiquette books) was a popular non-fiction genre in America. In fact, advise literature actively invaded other literary genres, most notably sentimental literature, which used fictional characters and situations to dramatize and illustrate this advice. The popularity of the genre even pervaded the twentieth century phenomenon of the film star. This paper will focus on Mary Pickford’s advisory texts and its relationship to nineteenth century advice literature. We will look at examples from Pickford’s syndicated column “Daily Talks” published between 1915 and 1917. Pickford’s texts contain similar rhetorical strategies to sweeten her didactic intent: metaphors, anecdotes, and aporia are put in the familiar and reassuring voice of the intimate friend mixed with the hortatory or inciting manner of the teacher. In terms of content there and love of the home, self-government, religion, education, courtship etc. Working from this familiar and effective literary tradition allowed Pickford to strengthen her star appeal and its consumption as well as to promote a particular “model of living” exemplified by the star’s idealized, almost sanctified, embodiment of American womanhood.

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Brouwers, Anke
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28 Sep 2013 15:05
Last modified
13 Mar 2015 14:44

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