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Circling Marilyn approaches the famous star in a manner that recognizes the impossibility of ever locating the “real” Marilyn Monroe. It gets close to the actress by discussing the chameleonic performances of Marilyn as woman, star, and text. Like Elvis, Marilyn lives, because she has become a discourse articulating major issues in the cultures she inhabits, whether in the 1950s or in the 21st century. In circling “Marilyn country,” this book discusses Marilyn as text, since those who knew and did not know her—husbands, lovers, fans, writers, directors, co-stars, critics—have written about Marilyn differently, and endlessly. Circling Marilyn also scrutinizes Marilyn as Body, but it locates not just one body, but many—including a disciplined and a communicative body. Other chapters consider the performing Marilyn and Marilyn performed. Marilyn takes on roles as herself, as a white and black woman, as a cowgirl on the Last Frontier, while others play Marilyn by snatching her famous body for their own purposes, at gay parades or in cyberspace. Circling Marilyn aims at readers engaged in American Studies, Media Studies, Cultural Studies, and Literature, as well as the general public, whose appetite for Marilyn Monroe keeps her alive, if eternally elusive.
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