Introduction to Top of the World: The American Success Myth in Film


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Top of the World: The American Success Myth in Film is a cultural history of the American idea of success. Although the book focuses on the codification of the success myth in Hollywood movies, its perspective is couched in two centuries of American thought and in a range of disciplinary methodologies. This introductory chapter lays out some of the key frames of reference that will inform the film analyses in the succeeding chapters. It synthesizes the work of historians and theorists of myth in order to establish a scholarly context for the success stories that recur in popular cultural narratives of the twentieth century, focusing particularly on anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss' notion that myths are comprised of layered pairs of seemingly irreconcilable oppositions.


Arts and Humanities

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