‘My dear, she’s on fire!’ DAMIAN BARR
‘A snappy guide to an all-conquering aesthetic’ Financial Times
‘The following things have seemed impossibly camp to me at one point or another: a doll whose body acts as a cover for a toilet roll, a tantrum over wire coat hangers, a 1950s muscle magazine featuring a photo of a young man dressed as a gladiator, and a rat underneath a silver serving platter’
An essential reappraisal of camp across time and across the globe, from the author of Fabulosa! and Outrageous!
Camp has been an inescapable part of popular culture for at least the last 150 years. Famously unrestrained and ever evolving, it has not only captured the cultural imagination, but also played an important role as a form of protest and resistance.
Paul Baker takes us through camp’s rebellious and revolutionary past with warmth, humour and sensitivity, starting with the court of Louis XIV and the dandies of the eighteenth century through to Showgirls, Harlem’s drag balls and Columbian telenovelas.
Throughout its history, camp has been a place of refuge and renewal, of heroism and hedonism. This glorious celebration traces camp’s journey from the fringes of society to the mainstream.
‘My dear, she’s on fire! From low camp to high, from Louis XIV to Ru Paul, Baker charts the rise-and-rise of camp. Glittering cultural armour for dark times. Paul Baker captures essence of an essentially uncapturable phenomenon making it just knowable enough for all. Delightful!‘ – Damian Barr
‘A snappy guide to an all-conquering aesthetic . . . Baker deserves a toast – preferably out of a rhinestone-spangled goblet’ – Financial Times
Paul Baker is a Professor of English Language at Lancaster University and has written over twenty books, for both academic and popular audiences. These include Fabulosa: The Story of Polari, and Outrageous! The Story of Section 28 and the Battle for LGBT Education. Paul is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.