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Wide Awake in SlumberlandFantasy, Mass Culture, and Modernism in the Art of Winsor McCay$
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Katherine Roeder

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781617039607

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617039607.001.0001

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Popular Amusement for All

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4 (p.79) Popular Amusement for All
Wide Awake in Slumberland

Katherine Roeder

University Press of Mississippi

Chapter four traces connections between commercial entertainment and McCay's work through a study of the landscapes of Slumberland. From the topsy-turvy funhouse of Befuddle Hall, to the onion domes of Morpheus' palace, Slumberland is pictured as a faraway dreamworld. However, the fantastic landscapes were recognizable to an audience acquainted with circuses, amusement parks, and world's fairs: the period's most popular forms of commercial entertainment. McCaypepperedLittle Nemo with allusions to circus poster typography, Coney Island thrill rides, and the architecture of the midway. This encouraged readers to draw connections between the various forms of mass culture, providing an entry point into the magical world of the comic. Circuses, amusement parks, and fairs acted in concert to provide audiences with spectacular entertainment and safe encounters with the exotic. Like Nemo, who ends each comic safe in his bed, they provided visitors with the illusion of adventure in a controlled environment.

Keywords:   Circus Posters, Coney Island, World's Fairs, Amusement Parks, Mass Culture

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