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The Soul of PleasureSentiment and Sensation in Nineteenth-Century American Mass Entertainment$
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David Monod

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702389

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702389.001.0001

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Looking Through

Looking Through

Sentimental Aesthetics

(p.76) Chapter 3 Looking Through
The Soul of Pleasure

David Monod

Cornell University Press

This chapter narrates the account of P. T. Barnum, an entrepreneur who harnessed the growing popularity of the theatre to further his business ventures. During his stint at the Vauxhall, Barnum noticed that the taste for popular family entertainment of a reasonably respectable kind existed even among members of the artisan class. While pleasure gardens welcomed families, theatres traditionally did not, Barnum recognized the benefits of breaking this tradition. When he learned in 1841 that Scudder's American Museum, on the corner of Broadway and Ann, had been put up for sale, he secured it. Here, in 1841, Barnum began mounting spiritually invigorating dramas and family-oriented minstrel and variety shows.

Keywords:   P. T. Barnum, family entertainment, artisan class, Scudder's American Museum, family oriented, minstrel show, variety shows, theatres

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