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Groucho Marx: The Comedy of Existence (Jewish Lives)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Groucho Marx: The Comedy of Existence (Jewish Lives).pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Lee Siegel(Author)

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A trenchant examination of an iconic American figure that explores the cultural and psychological roots of his comic genius Born Julius Marx in 1890, the brilliant comic actor who would later be known as Groucho was the most verbal of the famed comedy team, the Marx Brothers, his broad slapstick portrayals elevated by ingenious wordplay and double entendre. In his spirited biography of this beloved American iconoclast, Lee Siegel views the life of Groucho through the lens of his work on stage, screen, and television. The author uncovers the roots of the performer's outrageous intellectual acuity and hilarious insolence toward convention and authority in Groucho's early upbringing and Marx family dynamics. The first critical biography of Groucho Marx to approach his work analytically, this fascinating study draws unique connections between Groucho's comedy and his life, concentrating primarily on the brothers' classic films as a means of understanding and appreciating Julius the man. Unlike previous uncritical and mostly reverential biographies, Siegel's "bio-commentary" makes a distinctive contribution to the field of Groucho studies by attempting to tell the story of his life in terms of his work, and vice versa.

Siegel s book is the latest entry in Yale University Press s admirable Jewish Lives series. . . . "Groucho Marx" is trenchant and provocative. I would join any club that has this book in its library. Dennis Drabelle, "Washington Post"--Dennis Drabelle "Washington Post """Trenchant and provocative." Dennis Drabelle, "Washington Post"--Dennis Drabelle "Washington Post ""A beautiful, brilliant, and persuasive reading of Marx as crypto-nihilist. A necessary and pulse-quickening work (utterly bereft of jargon or self-seriousness), linking Aristophanes to Kafka to Beckett to Groucho to Woody Allen to Amy Schumer. David Shields, author of Reality Hunger--David Shields"Lee Siegel s brilliant analysis of the glorious, scary, beyond-funny humor of Groucho and his brothers made me feel as if I were watching their movies for the first time. In this hugely enjoyable and stimulating book, Siegel shows how Groucho became an impossibility: an immortal comedian. Ian Frazier, author of Great Plains and On the Rez--Ian Frazier""Trenchant and provocative." Dennis Drabelle, Washington Post--Dennis Drabelle "Washington Post ""[A] forensic and well-informed analysis of the brother s comedy through their lives . . . Siegel is good at building on finds from his extensive sources to create vivid pictures and plausible assumptions . . . There are plenty of unusual insights." Jewish Renaissance--Judi Herman"Jewish Renaissance" (04/14/2016)"Was [Groucho] serious or funny? Where did the persona stop and the real Groucho begin? Lee Seigel wrestles with these questions in his provocative and short critical biography of the man he calls the Marx Brothers s central intelligence . Karl Whitney, Guardian--Karl Whitney"The Guardian" (04/20/2016)""A beautiful, brilliant, and persuasive reading of Marx as crypto-nihilist. A necessary and pulse-quickening work (utterly bereft of jargon or self-seriousness), linking Aristophanes to Kafka to Beckett to Groucho to Woody Allen to Amy Schumer."--David Shields, author of Reality Hunger--David Shields"Lee Siegel's brilliant analysis of the glorious, scary, beyond-funny humor of Groucho and his brothers made me feel as if I were watching their movies for the first time. In this hugely enjoyable and stimulating book, Siegel shows how Groucho became an impossibility: an immortal comedian."--Ian Frazier, author of Great Plains and On the Rez--Ian Frazier"Trenchant and provocative."--Dennis Drabelle, Washington Post--Dennis Drabelle "Washington Post ""Spirited and revealing . . . An astute psychological profile of the man whose biting, nihilistic comedy broke so many barriers."--John McMurtrie, San Francisco Chronicle--John McMurtrie "San Francisco Chronicle ""A luminous delight . . . A true page-turner and a lot of fun. [Siegel] applies his own philosophical acuity to the personal and socio-political aspects of Groucho's life."--Shon Arieh-Lerer, Slate--Shon Arieh-Lerer "Slate ""There is no doubt that the author loves the 13 films the brothers made together, but his fascination lies with those moments when they go too far, toppling toward Samuel Beckett's "mirthless laugh," which laughs "at that which is unhappy..". [The book] is full of sensitive observations about Harpo's musical vocation and Groucho's uncanny greasepaint, details to propel readers back to the films... You suspect Marx, frustrated doctor and unlikely pen pal of T.S. Eliot, would have appreciated being taken so seriously."--Victoria Segal, Sunday Times--Victoria Segal"Sunday Times" (02/21/2016)"A whole new perspective on one of my favorite comedians . . . intelligent, absorbing, analytical . . . a fascinating new appreciation of Groucho Marx, the man and the comedian, and what really lurked behind the mustache, eyebrows, glasses and cigar."--Stuart Nulman, The Montreal Times--Stuart Nulman "The Montreal Times ""[A] forensic and well-informed analysis of the brother's comedy through their lives . . . Siegel is good at building on finds from his extensive sources to create vivid pictures - and plausible assumptions . . . There are plenty of unusual insights."--Jewish Renaissance--Judi Herman"Jewish Renaissance" (04/14/2016)"Was [Groucho] serious or funny? Where did the persona stop and the real Groucho begin? Lee Seigel wrestles with these questions in his provocative and short critical biography of the man he calls the Marx Brothers's "central intelligence.""--Karl Whitney, Guardian--Karl Whitney"The Guardian" (04/20/2016)"The moral ambiguity Siegel finds in the Marx Brothers' films never occurred to me before reading his book . . . Siegel makes many valid and interesting points. His greatest success was in changing my view of both the films and Groucho's life."--Rabbi Rachel Esserman, The Reporter Group--Rabbi Rachel Esserman "The Reporter Group ""Fast and stimulating . . . A rarity in Marx criticism."--Allen Barra, Truthdig.com--Allen Barra "Truthdig.com ""A work with depth and originality as [Siegel] builds a psychoanalytic, philosophical thesis about the unextractable part played by the Marx Brothers' own lives in their comedy . . . a very readable, engaging, and worthy new entry in the rather sizable world of Marx Brothers scholarship."--Frank Beaver, Michigan Today--Frank Beaver "Michigan Today "

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Book details

  • PDF | 224 pages
  • Lee Siegel(Author)
  • Yale University Press (2 Feb. 2016)
  • English
  • 9
  • Music, Stage & Screen

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Review Text

  • By Mr Toad on 24 April 2017

    Groucho was a lot of fun. The book not much.

  • By Irene on 9 March 2016

    Bought as a gift, recipient delighted.


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