Author: Paul Baker
By the bestselling author of Fabulosa! and Outrageous!, this reappraisal of camp across time and in all its glorious forms shows how this inescapable part of popular culture has also played an important role in equality movements as a form of protest or resistance. The following things have seemed impossibly camp to me at one point or another: a doll whose body acts as a cover for a toilet roll, a peacock chair, a wig being pulled off and flushed down the toilet, a tantrum over wire coat hangers, a toppled-over Christmas tree, a 1950s muscle magazine featuring a photo of a young man dressed as a gladiator, a rat underneath a silver serving platter, and an estate agent wearing tiger face paint. Fabulously unrestrained and ever-evolving, camp has captured the cultural imagination for at least 150 years. The term possibly derives from the French se camper, meaning to pose in a bold, provocative or exaggerated fashion. Frequently used to define or deride young heterosexual men, the upper classes, Black people, older women and gay men, camp has also played a key role in equality movements. Paul Baker's highly anticipated reappraisal of camp surveys its touchstones across history and the changing ways that it has been understood. He traces the history of camp from the courts of Louis XIV and trials of Oscar Wilde to the archetypical dandy Beau Brummell and the celebrated playwright Noel Coward; from The Valley of the Dolls, Harlem's drag balls and Brazilian telenovelas through to the modern day divas of Donna Summer, Madonna and Britney Spears. Celebrating camp as an aesthetic, a sensibility and a way of life, this essential dive into an often-derided phenomenon, shows how camp has been a place of refuge and renewal, of heroism and hedonism, and how it is more powerful than ever.
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