Sunday, March 5, 2017

"Inventing the Cave Man"

New from Oxford University Press: Inventing the Cave Man: From Darwin to the Flintstones by Andrew Horrall.

About the book, from the publisher:
Fred Flintstone lived in a sunny Stone Age American suburb, but his ancestors were respectable, middle-class Victorians. They were very amused to think that prehistory was an archaic version of their own world because it suggested that British ideals were eternal. In the 1850s, our prehistoric ancestors were portrayed in satirical cartoons, songs, sketches and plays as ape-like, reflecting the threat posed by evolutionary ideas. By the end of the century, recognisably human cave men inhabited a Stone Age version of late-imperial Britain, sending-up its ideals and institutions. Cave men appeared constantly in parades, civic pageants, costume parties and fetes from Manchester to Melbourne. American cartoonists and early Hollywood stars like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton adopted and reimagined this very British character in the early 1900s, cementing it in global popular culture.

Extensive, groundbreaking research is presented in plain, engaging language with many illustrations. Cave men are an appealing way to explore and understand Victorian and Edwardian Britain.
--Marshal Zeringue