Christmas, ideology and popular culture by Sheila Whiteley

By Sheila Whiteley

How will we comprehend Christmas? What does it suggest? This publication is a full of life advent to the examine of pop culture via one relevant case learn. It explores the cultural, social and historic contexts of Christmas within the united kingdom, united states and Australia, protecting such subject matters as fiction, movie, tv, paintings, newspapers and magazines, conflict, well known track and carols. Chapters discover the ways that the creation of which means is mediated by way of the social and cultural actions surrounding Christmas (watching Christmas motion pictures, tv, listening or enticing with renowned song and carols), its courting to a collection of easy values (the idealised build of the family), social relationships (community), and the ways that ideological discourses are used and mobilised, no longer least in occasions of clash, terrorism and conflict

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The implication is that we should remember those who have no access to the joys associated with middle-class celebrations. Pantomimes, clowns and harlequins, as depicted on this poster, were common subjects for Christmas cards of the 1880s, for example, and were to be seen on another famous early card by William Maw Egley (1848). The Egley card has a similar theme to the Cole Horsley card of 1843, that of family feasting and celebration, and both have side panels showing charity to the poor. Charity was to be seen in cards such as another series produced by Goodall between 1870 and 1875.

The Art Journal has increasingly lengthy articles on Christmas cards and the habit of exchanging them from the 1870s to the 1890s, with a repeated emphasis on the societal benefits of such a habit. ’ In what was to become a middle-class tradition after 1843, the reading of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, the moral was reinforced throughout the Victorian period and beyond. Dickens is supposed to have confessed to being greatly influenced by Irving’s nostalgic picture of an English Christmas: ‘I don’t go upstairs two nights out of seven without taking Washington Irving under my arm’ (cited in Buday 1954: 64).

4 ‘A Penny A Bunch’ (card of early 1880s). 39 40 ,     of those who could not enjoy Christmas while at the same time assuaging some guilt by the choice of image, perhaps. Certainly, the Art Journal of 1872, in a long article praising the quality of the productions of Marcus Ward, a well-known Belfast Christmas card maker, goes on to extol the virtues of introducing such a trade into Ireland so as to provide employment. It is ‘evidence of what Ireland may be when “agitation” ceases, and permits prosperity to be “at large” in that country’.

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