PRINT October 1999


Titanic: Anatomy of a Blockbuster

“Instant books” first appeared in the ’70s: thin, hastily written paperbacks designed to hit drugstore and airport sales racks while public interest in a political event or celebrity scandal remains fresh. The ’90s have given us the academic instant book, collections of essays that, because of the slow pace of scholarly publication, generally appear after public interest in whatever “hot” topic they explore has waned. Madonna, Princess Di, and the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan affair have been given the cultural studies treatment; now comes Titanic: Anatomy of a Blockbuster. Like the film itself, Sandler and Studlar’s collection is short on marquee stars; the twenty contributors include some scholars well known in the media studies world, but no household names. Titanic made up in special effects what it lacked in star power; Anatomy of a Blockbuster lures readers with the promise of a

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