burlesque


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burlesque

(bûrlĕsk`) [Ital.,=mockery], form of entertainment differing from comedy or farce in that it achieves its effects through caricature, ridicule, and distortion. It differs from satire in that it is devoid of any ethical element. The word first came into use in the 16th cent. in an opera of the Italian Francesco Berni, who called his works burleschi. Early English burlesque often ridiculed celebrated literary works, especially sentimental drama. Beaumont and Fletcher's Knight of the Burning Pestle (1613), Buckingham's The Rehearsal (1671), Gay's Beggar's Opera (1728), Fielding's Tom Thumb (1730), and Sheridan's Critic (1779) may be classed as dramatic burlesque. In the 19th cent. English burlesque depended less on parody of literary styles and models. H. J. Bryon was a major writer of the new, pun-filled burlesque. The extravaganza and burletta were forms of amusement similar to burlesque, the latter being primarily a musical production. They were performed in small theaters in an effort to evade the strict licensing laws that forbade major dramatic productions to these theaters. American stage burlesque (from 1865), often referred to as "burleycue" or "leg show," began as a variety show, characterized by vulgar dialogue and broad comedy, and uninhibited behavior by performers and audience. Such stars as Al Jolson, W. C. Fields, Mae West, Fannie Brice, Sophie Tucker, Bert Lahr, and Joe Weber and Lew Fields began their careers in burlesque. About 1920 the term began to refer to the "strip-tease" show, which created its own stars, such as Gypsy Rose Lee; in c.1937 burlesque performances in New York City were banned. With the increase in popularity of nightclubs and movies, the burlesque entertainment died.

Bibliography

See studies by C. V. Clinton-Baddeley (1952, repr. 1974); R. P. Bond (1932, repr. 1964), and J. D. Jump (1972).

Burlesque

 

(1) A genre of comic parody poetry. The comic effect in burlesque is determined by the contrast between the theme and the character of its interpretation: either a deliberately “lofty” theme receives a trivially routine treatment and is presented in an explicitly “low” style (Big Morgante by Pulci, The Aeneid Transposed Into the Ukrainian Language by I. P. Kotliarevskii) or a “low” theme is realized by means of a traditionally “lofty” style—the so-called heroicomic poem (the ancient parody of Homer, Batrachomyomachia, and The Lectern by Boileau).

In Europe burlesque was especially popular in the 17th and early 18th century (the poem Virgile Travesti by the French poet P. Scarron), and in Russia at the end of the 18th century (the heroicomic poem Elisei, or Bacchus Infuriated by V. Maikov and the travesty Virgils Aeneid, Inside Out by N. Osipov) as a reaction to the conventional solemnity of the heroic poem of the classicists. Elements of burlesque may be found in Mystery Bouffe by V. Mayakovsky and in the satirical poem by A. Tvardovskii, Terkin in the Next World.

(2) A musical piece that is humorous, at times comical or whimsical, in character. It is related to the capriccio and humoresque. There are burlesques by J. S. Bach (Partita, no. 3), R. Schumann (Pages From an Album, for piano), M. Reger, B. Bartok, and R. Strauss (Burleske, for pianoforte and orchestra).

(3) A short comic parody opera, similar to vaudeville. It originated in Italy and gained popularity in France, Ireland, and Great Britain.

burlesque

1. an artistic work, esp literary or dramatic, satirizing a subject by caricaturing it
2. a play of the 17th--19th centuries that parodied some contemporary dramatic fashion or event
3. US and Canadian Theatre a bawdy comedy show of the late 19th and early 20th centuries: the striptease eventually became one of its chief elements
References in periodicals archive ?
English burlesque is chiefly dramatic, notable exceptions being Samuel Butler's satiric poem Hudibras (1663-78), an indictment of Puritan hypocrisy; the mock-heroic couplets of John Dryden and Alexander Pope; and the prose burlesques of Jonathan Swift and Henry Fielding.
Two new books by scholars whose fields lie outside of mainstream history (Robert Allen is a professor of radio, television, and cinema and has written widely about the history of American entertainment, and Barbara Grossman was trained in theater history) provide us with fresh and illuminating perspectives on burlesque and beyond that open up new possibilities for understanding the relationship between social change and cultural production.
Here, some competitors tell us what burlesque means to them
She has produced award-winning cabaret for more than 10 years and has worked with such cabaret luminaries as Amanda Palmer and stars of America's Got Talent Piff the Magic Dragon and Tape Face as well as having performed alongside burlesque legends such as Immodesty Blaize and Dirty Martini.
We want to set the standard for all burlesque performers, that they are paid for their craft whenever they hit the stage," Elfatah said.
Comedy is key to many burlesque routines which normally, but not always, involve women in risque clothing stripping down to g-strings and nipple covers in imaginative ways - think Dita Von Teese and that huge cocktail glass.
While Whitelies Burlesque and House of Tease have become permanent fixtures here, HoH is the newest addition on the sultry scene, and they are adding their own soulful flavor.
Conceived by the company's creator, Angie Hobin, the troupe is made up of some of the country's most well-known burlesque performers and rising stars.
27, the group will host a burlesque show centered on the theme "Disrobing the Decades" at the Scottish Rite.
"Some burlesque acts do take their clothes off and we will be featuring a selection of the best of these acts during the festival, but some actors and comedians take their clothes off too.
On Friday, she'll be back in Liverpool, on stage for the first time since she was 16 and in panto, in An Evening of Burlesque at the Empire.
Laura Michelle Siedlecki is the owner of Dollhouse Burlesque, one of the only schools of its kind in the Midlands.