The story of the Titanic has pervaded popular culture from the moment the news of its sinking spread. Mere days after the experience, Titanic survivor Dorothy Gibson appeared in the silent film short Saved from the Titanic, which she authored. Such sensationalized fascination about the tragedy persists, manifesting in musicals, films, and beyond. Here is our roundup of Titanic’s appearances in popular culture all around the world:
- James Cameron’s Titanic film
Still one of the top grossing films in global history, Cameron’s 1997 film reigns as the most recognized cultural product from the ship’s tragedy all over the world. The film, in turn, has been referenced in numerous other art products, such as A Thousand Splendid Suns by award-winning author Khaled Hosseini.
- Titanic, the Musical
The musical Titanic by Peter Stone and Maury Yeston opened on Broadway in 1997, quickly winning five Tony Awards soon after its release and eventually embarking on a world tour.
- A Night to Remember
Walter Lord’s nonfiction book, published in 1955, is still considered one of the best sources to learn more about the disaster. The novel was adapted into a film of the same name in 1958.
- “The Sinking of the Titanic”
This musical composition by Gavin Bryars was inspired by the legend of the orchestra who played while the ship sank. It recreates the music played and what it would have sounded like underwater, as well as the remnants of sound that reverberated in the waters long after those who played it perished. Other Titanic-inspired songs can be accessed from our informal playlist!
A character in Black American folklore, the legend of Shine melded with that of the Titanic for one of his stories. In this spoken-word piece (called a toast), Shine escapes death by refusing to be swayed by the promises of the white passengers and crew who swear to give him whatever he wants if he saves them. The Titanic is depicted as a warning of white hubris.
The legend of RMS Titanic lives on in the memory of popular culture. Can you think of other cultural products inspired by the ship’s tragedy? Tell us in the comments below!
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