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Mabel Normand's Performance Style

Vicki Callahan, Author

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Fashion and Mabel Normand's Performance style

This site is a multimedia examination of Mabel Normand's performance style and her links to world of fashion. Oftentimes lumped (and at times dismissed) as part of the knockabout tradition, Normand's performance is I would argue a rather quite different and distinct style that might help us to expand on notions of mimesis and the performative that Jennifer Bean’s essay, "Technologies of Stardom and the Extraordinary Body," raised. Normand’s style, which I will label a “performance of infelicities” (a kind of failed performative, marked by willful mis-use of the act/utterance) propels us beyond the world of the uncertain and into the possible.  It is a style not so much “caused by” her work as a model for Charles Dana Gibson and James Montgomery Flagg with poses she may have learned, but the context of fashions she wore and was associated and the process and logic of modeling itself. 

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Mabel Normand Performance Style by Vicki Callahan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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