Making a Splash

Making a Splash

Mermaids (and Mer-Men) in 20th and 21st Century Audiovisual Media
Philip Hayward
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 01/30/2017
Format: Paperback 28 color illus.
ISBN: 978-0-861-96724-7
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Mermaids have been a feature of western cinema since its inception and the number of films, television series, and videos representing them has expanded exponentially since the 1980s. Making a Splash analyses texts produced within a variety of audiovisual genres. Following an overview of mermaids in western culture that draws on a range of disciplines including media studies, psychoanalysis, and post- structuralism, individual chapters provide case studies of particular engagements with the folkloric figure. From Hans Christian Andersen’s "The Little Mermaid" to the creation of Ursula, Ariel’s tentacled antagonist in Disney’s 1989 film, to aspects of mermaid vocality, physicality, agency, and sexuality in films and even representations of mermen, this work provides a definitive overview of the significance of these ancient mythical figures in 110 years of western audio-visual media.

Author Bio

Philip Hayward is editor of the Island Studies journal Shima and holds adjunct professor positions at the University of Technology Sydney and at Southern Cross University (Australia). He has previously published books on topics such as horror cinema and cultural heritage in the Pacific. He is also a member of audio-visual ensemble The Moviolas and was co-curator of an exhibition entitled Making a Splash: Mermaids and Modernity being held at Sydney’s Macquarie University Art Gallery in mid-2017 to accompany the launch of this volume.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Tails, Tresses and Elusive Otherness

Chapter 1 – Becoming Ariel, Becoming Ursula: Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘Den lille Havfrue’ and its Disneynification

Chapter 2 – Flauntation and Fascination: The Alluring Mermaid and her Charms

Chapter 3 – Sonic Seduction: Mermaid Vocality and its Expression in Screen Soundtracks
(co-authored with Jon Fitzgerald)

Chapter 4 – Making Out: Sexuality and the Transformative Mermaid

Chapter 5 – Channeling the Anima: Inspirational Folklore in The Mermaid Chair

Chapter 6 – "Mermaid-like a while": Juvenile Mermaids and Aficionado Culture

Chapter 7 – At the Margins: Mermen on the Screen

Chapter 8 – Crypto-Science and Hoax TV: Animal Planet’s Mermaid Documentaries


Appendix 1 – Chronological catalogue of audiovisual productions featuring mermaids and mermen referenced in the volume


General Index

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