1st Edition

Popular Culture in Europe since 1800 A Student's Guide

By Tobias Becker, Len Platt Copyright 2024
    244 Pages 66 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    244 Pages 66 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book tells the story of the history of popular culture in Europe since 1800, providing a framework which challenges traditional associations that have formulated popular culture firmly in relation to the post-1945 period and the economic power of the USA.

    Focusing on key themes associated with modernity – secularisation, industrialisation, social cohesion and control, globalisation and technological change – this synthesis of research across a very wide field fills a gap that has long been felt by students and educators working in the field of popular culture. While it is organised as a history of cultural forms, it can also be used across a wide range of social science and humanities programmes, including media and cultural studies, literary studies, sociology and European studies. Covering the subject with a broad number of themes, this book discusses popular culture through visual culture and performance, games, music, film, television and video games.

    Popular Culture in Europe since 1800 will be of interest to anyone looking for an engaged but concise overview of how book production and reading practices, visual cultures, music, performance and sports and games developed across Europe in the modern period.


    Chapter 1 Reading Cultures — Modernity and the Word

    Chapter 2 Seeing — The Rise of Visual Culture

    Chapter 3 Performance — Rational Entertainment and Musical Theatre

    Chapter 4 Play — Games in Modern Europe

    Chapter 5 Music — From Folksong to Pop

    Chapter 6 Film — European Genre Movies

    Chapter 7 Television — A Popular Culture and Its Politics

    Chapter 8 Digital Europe — The Video Game


    Tobias Becker is a historian and curator based in Berlin. His publications include Inszenierte Moderne: Populäres Theater in Berlin und London, 1880–1930 (2014), Popular Musical Theatre in London and Berlin, 1890–1939, ed. with Len Platt and David Linton (2014) and Yesterday: A New History of Nostalgia (forthcoming).

    Len Platt is Professor Emeritus of Modern Literatures at Goldsmiths, University of London. His previous publications include Writing London and the Thames Estuary 1576–2016 (2017), James Joyce: Texts and Contexts (2012), Joyce, Race and Finnegans Wake (2007) and Musical Comedy on the West End Stage, 1890–1939 (2004).

    From Zazel the Human Cannonball to the Eurovision Song Contest, Tobias Becker and Len Platt explore the trajectory of popular culture and mass entertainment in the modern age.  This is an ambitious but completely accessible book for students and the general reader.

    Professor Rohan McWilliam, Anglia Ruskin University

    This wide-ranging but concise overview puts popular culture at the heart of the story of modern Europe. Surveying forms and genres from motion pictures and musical theater to pop music and video games, it reveals how technological innovations and exchanges of ideas remade culture across three centuries. Popular culture is built on the interplay between the local and the global, Europe and America, "high" and "low" – this illuminating work makes those complex processes accessible to students.

    Julia Sneeringer, Queens College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA