The Anatomy of Harpo Marx

Koestenbaum, Wayne (Book - 2012)
The Anatomy of Harpo Marx
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University of California Press
"Wayne Koestenbaum is our Roland Barthes, updated, remastered, cleared for the pressure zone of American mythologies. Delicate and brave, discerning and outrageous, the meditations organized around the other Marx track unconscious byways and the remarkable turns of a highly personal investment. Startlingly original, Koestenbaum provides critical understanding with poetic acuity and breathtaking disclosure."--Avital Ronell, author of The Test Drive

"The Anatomy of Harpo Marx is an effusive and provocative celebration of the potential of nonverbal communication, lying somewhere between poetry and criticism, history and diary, polemic and self-analysis. It is also funny, smart, often revelatory, and always sharp. It is, for all its analytical depth, a great read."--Michael Long, author of Beautiful Monsters: Imagining the Classic in Musical Media

"Behind that face and in Harpo's body, Wayne Koestenbaum finds more material than existed in New York's fabled garment district. Koestenbaum's work is compelling and surprising; his detailed explorations, gifts to readers wondering about what lies beneath our culture's surfaces. Read Wayne Koestenbaum for his exuberant embrace of the unrecognized or ignored; for his pleasure in explaining the inexplicable, and for his delight in deciphering Elizabeth Taylor's cleavage. Read him now for unveiling the most enigmatic of presences, Harpo Marx. --Lynne Tillman, author of American Genius, A Comedy

The Anatomy of Harpo Marx is a luxuriant, detailed play-by-play account of Harpo Marx’s physical movements as captured on screen. Wayne Koestenbaum guides us through the thirteen Marx Brothers films, from The Cocoanuts in 1929 to Love Happy in 1950, to focus on Harpo’s chief and yet heretofore unexplored attribute?his profound and contradictory corporeality. Koestenbaum celebrates the astonishing range of Harpo’s body?its kinks, sexual multiplicities, somnolence, Jewishness, ?cute” pathos, and more. In a virtuosic performance, Koestenbaum’s text moves gracefully from insightful analysis to cultural critique to autobiographical musing, and provides Harpo with a host of odd bedfellows, including Walter Benjamin and Barbra Streisand.

Authors: Koestenbaum, Wayne
Statement of Responsibility: Wayne Koestenbaum
Title: The anatomy of Harpo Marx
Publisher: Berkeley : University of California Press, c2012
Characteristics: ix, 299 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Contents: Early ecstatic emptiness. The holy fool flees language's stinkbomb: The cocoanuts (1929)
Pinky, the pointing scapegoat, lags behind: Duck soup (1933)
The mad mohel's goo-goo eyes of monomaniacal attunement: A night at the opera
Poppy power, or, the thick-enough art of zombie dumbfoundment: Animal crackers (1930)
Later astonishments. Fake dead Jew as cute zoo-idiot: Room service (1938)
Pass Punchy's humiliated buddy huddle: At the circus (1939)
Freeze Rusty's anal rage in a cozy void: Go west (1940)
Lonely wacky's incremental lines of flight: The big store (1941)
The bubble-blowing demarcator tickles totality: A night in Casablanca (1946)
Bulge, glaze, pause, shock; or, the bushy-haired ragpicker's burnt offering: Love happy (1950)
The idiot tumbles back to the beginning of time. The undeliverable ice of pinky's mom-mouth: Horse feathers (1932)
The kippering, bopping, shushing, bear-hugging, beard-pulling bustle: Monkey business (1931)
The pretzel glimmer-eye of stuffy's stuttering surge: A day at the races
Subject Headings: Comedians United States Biography Motion picture actors and actresses United States Biography Marx, Harpo, 1888-1964
Topical Term: Comedians
Motion picture actors and actresses
LCCN: 2011024490
ISBN: 0520269012
Branch Call Number: B Marx K
Research Call Number: MWES (Marx, H.) 12-3335
MARC Display»


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