‘This tin tub’s unsinkable’ is a quotation from a 1996 television miniseries about the Titanic and provides an example of how dramatic representations of the disaster almost always emphasise the ship’s supposed status as unsinkable. The endurance of the unsinkable myth in the collective public consciousness is important to a study of how irony, as a major expression of modern experience, has affected the Titanic’s status as an icon for the twentieth century and the early twenty-first century. On a more simple level, the quotation demonstrates how the cultural imagination will not let the Titanic story go away.
This Tin Tub’s Unsinkable: Modernity and the Titanic Paradigm in Visual and Literary Culture, available now on Amazon, explains how the 1912 sinking of the Titanic experiences ‘peaks’ of interest in visual and literary culture at times when it is necessary to make meaning of the modern world. In other words, the Titanic disaster has been created into, and used as, a focal text for articulating some of the complexities and anxieties of modernity as they become acute at different times during the twentieth century and the early twenty-first century.
The book analyses visual and literary texts that have appropriated the Titanic story into their narratives and imagery, often from such academically ignored genres as silent film, television series and miniseries, soap opera, romance narratives, animated film, science fiction, the internet and mass-produced kitsch. The book also concerns itself with the Titanic’s relationship to postmodern theory and its resonance within a post-September 11 environment. The book concludes with a discussion about Australian businessman Clive Palmer’s plans to build Titanic II.
In 2012, I had the honour of meeting Godfrey Lowe, the grandson of Titanic hero Fifth Officer Harold Lowe. It was my absolute pleasure to sign a hard copy of my book for him. It was an afternoon I’ll remember and treasure for a long time – a big thanks to my friend Doug for arranging it.
Click here to purchase my book ‘This Tin Tub’s Unsinkable’: Modernity and the Titanic Paradigm in Visual and Literary Culture on Amazon.