June 24, 2010 Author to Discuss "The Marx Brothers As Social Critics"

Martin A. Gardner Explores Underside of Their Film Comedies

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

The Marx brothers’ films are packed with slapstick and obvious jokes, gags, puns, pratfalls and mimicry. But beneath the laughs is a serious and biting condemnation of American culture.

Martin A. Gardner, author of “The Marx Brothers As Social Critics: Satire and Comic Nihilism in Their Films” (McFarland & Co., 2009), will discuss and sign his work on Thursday, July 15, at noon in the Mumford Room, sixth floor, Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. The Center for the Book is sponsoring this event as part of its Books & Beyond author series. It is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. The Library’s Manuscript Division is co-sponsoring the program.

“The Marx Brothers As Social Critics” examines historical events, political practices, economic conditions, manners and customs, literary subjects and popular entertainment as satirized in the Marx brothers’ films and considers the ways in which the films were relevant in their era and remain so today. Gardner has worked in advertising and as a writer for The Village Voice, House Beautiful and Art Business News, among other periodicals. He conducted much of his research at the Library of Congress.

Gardner’s book is also the subject of a discussion on Facebook. The new Books & Beyond Book Club is available at www.facebook.com/booksandbeyond/. Here readers can discuss books, the authors of which have appeared or will appear in this series. The site also offers links to webcasts of these events and asks readers to talk about what they have seen and heard in those webcasts.

The Center for the Book (www.loc.gov/cfbook/) was established by Congress in 1977 "to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries." With its many educational programs that reach readers of all ages, through its support of the National Book Festival and through its dynamic state centers in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Center for the Book has developed a nationwide network of organizational partners dedicated to promoting the wonders and benefits of reading. The center also oversees the new Read.gov website, with its exclusive "Exquisite Corpse Adventure" serialized story.


PR 10-153
ISSN 0731-3527