Analyzing Mad Men

Critical Essays on the Television Series


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About the Book

AMC’s episodic drama Mad Men has become a cultural phenomenon, detailing America’s preoccupation with commercialism and image in the Camelot of 1960s Kennedy-era America, while self-consciously exploring current preoccupations. The 12 critical essays in this collection offer a broad, interdisciplinary approach to this highly relevant television show, examining Mad Men as a cultural barometer for contemporary concerns with consumerism, capitalism and sexism. Topics include New Historicist parallels between the 1960s and the present day, psychoanalytical approaches to the show, the self as commodity, and the “Age of Camelot” as an “Age of Anxiety,” among others. A detailed cast list and episode guide are included.
Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Scott F. Stoddart is the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, New Jersey. He has written broadly about popular culture, literature and the arts on such topics as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Stephen Sondheim and the Coen brothers. He is also a host of the Sundance television series Love/Lust and a contributing correspondent to the PBS series American Icons.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Scott F. Stoddart
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 284
Bibliographic Info: 6 photos, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4738-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8525-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      ix

Introduction      1

The Contexts of Mad Men

1. “We’ll start over like Adam and Eve”: The Subversion of Classic American Mythology

Melanie Hernandez and David Thomas Holmberg      15

2. The Fall of the Organization Man: Loyalty and Conflict in the First Season

Maura Grady      45

The Politics of Mad Men

3. “The Good Place” and “The Place That Cannot Be”: Politics, Melodrama and Utopia

Brenda Cromb      67

4. Unleashing a Flow of Desire: Sterling Cooper, Desiring-Production, and the Tenets of Late Capitalism

David P. Pierson      79

5. Kodak, Jack, and Coke : Advertising and Mad-vertising

Jennifer Gillan      95

The Women of Mad Men

6. Mad Men and Career Women: The Best of Everything?

Tamar Jeffers McDonald      117

7. “A Mother Like You”: Pregnancy, the Maternal, and Nostalgia

Diana Davidson      136

8. Mad Men / Mad Women: Autonomous Images of Women

Sara Rogers      155

9. Maidenform: Temporalities of Fashion, Femininity, and Feminism

Meenasarani Linde Murugan      166

10. Every Woman Is a Jackie or a Marilyn: The Problematics of Nostalgia

Tonya Krouse      186

The Nostalgia of Mad Men

11. Camelot Regained

Scott F. Stoddart      207

12. Complicating Camelot: Surface Realism and Deliberate Archaism

Christine Sprengler      234

Episode Guide and Cast List      253

About the Contributors      265

Index      269