Maybe Mardi Gras isn't celebrated in your city, but who says you can't get into the spirit? Duke University Press has published many journal articles on Mardi Gras, and we've made these two freely available for the holiday—so don your beads and mask, cut a slice of king cake, and dive into these articles.*
"Spenser and Milton at Mardi Gras: English Literature, American Cultural Capital, and the Reformation of New Orleans Carnival" by Richard Rambuss in boundary 2 (27:2)
Read an excerpt:
Milton may be far from mind when one now thinks of or, better, experiences what is advertised as the world's greatest free party. Yet, as we have begun to consider, a rather detailed, even learned usage of literature—particularly English Renaissance and classical literature—played a structuring role in Comus's endeavor to appropriate and dignify the residual Latin traditions of Carnival. Propounding a caste status for its founders that was then more an aspiration than an actuality, a commemorative booklet issue by the Mistick Krewe in 1947 thus explains that 'as the members of Comus were socially important this meant that their celebration of Mardi Gras was orderly, educational and cultural.' (pages 49-50)
For more of "Spenser and Milton at Mardi Gras," click here.
"Mardi Gras Tourism and the Construction of Sydney as an International Gay and Lesbian City" by Kevin Markwell in GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies (8:1-2)
Read an excerpt:
Mardi Gras attracts many domestic and international tourists to Sydney during February, and their numbers peak just prior to the parade and party at the end of the festival. The festival, parade, and party are major events on Australia’s tourism calendar. There is a strong representation from countries such as the United States, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and France, as well as increasing numbers of tourists from Southeast Asia, and Mardi Gras packages are advertised in the gay and lesbian press in European and North American countries. While approximately 15 percent of the eighty events at the festival are free, many of the most popular ones require tickets… Full participation in the festival is an expensive undertaking, especially when coupled with the costs of outfits; body treatments such as waxing, tanning, gym training, hairstyling, and party drugs; and, for tourists, accommodation and transportation costs. Many people are willing, however, to spend large sums because Mardi Gras becomes for them the major yearly event that helps define their gay or lesbian identity. (page 84)
For more of "Mardi Gras Tourism," click here.
Don't forget to check out Matt Sakakeeny's new book Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans while you're on your Mardi Gras kick!
*If you're in a location that really celebrates Mardi Gras, don't be concerned. You can still read these articles through the end of the month. Recover from your festivities and then get to reading.