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Blackwell Manifestos #28: The Myth of Popular Culture: From Dante to Dylan

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Blackwell Manifestos #28: The Myth of Popular Culture: From Dante to Dylan Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this fascinating examination of popular culture, esteemed cultural critic Perry Meisel shatters conventionally held notions about the division between “high” and “low” culture with the provocative theory that popular culture has sustained dialectical rhythms. Meisel’s deft critical analysis of three enduring cultural traditions – the American novel, Hollywood, and British and American rock music – leads us to question the very concept of the division between “high” and “low” culture.

Meisel begins his engaging discussion by refuting philosopher Theodor Adorno's assertion that “high” culture is “dialectical” and “pop” is not, showing that popular culture does indeed have a conversation both with its sources and with cultural authority as a whole. In the final section, Meisel turns his attention to Bob Dylan, a figure who, more than any other, shows what it means to synthesize and revise all traditions – music, poetry, iconography – and transform them completely.

Brilliantly conceived and clearly articulated, The Myth of Popular Culture from Dante to Dylan redefines the way in which we think about all forms of artistic expression.

Book News Annotation:

The myth is that there is a distinction between high and low culture, and Meisel (English, New York U.) sets out to dispel it, particularly Adorno's contention that popular culture is not dialectic. His case studies are the American novel, Hollywood movies, and American rock music. Among specific topics are Johnson and the long 18th century, Andy Warhol, American fiction from Cooper to Chandler, Harlow and Monroe, the blues misreading gospel, and Buddy Holly and the British invasion. Bob Dylan gets a whole section to himself, with chapters on such aspects as he and his critics, words and music, himself, and his relation to Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

The Myth of Popular Culture from Dante to Dylan is a fascinating examination of the cultural traditions of the American novel, Hollywood, and British and American rock music which leads us to redefine our concept of the division between "high" and "low" culture.

  • A stimulating history of high and low culture from Dante Alighieri to Bob Dylan, providing a controversial defence of popular culture
  • Seeks to rebut the durable belief that only high culture is ‘dialectical’ and popular culture is not by turning Theodor Adorno’s theories on ‘pop’ against themselves
  • Presents a critical analysis of three popular traditions: the American novel, Hollywood, and British and American rock music
  • Offers an original account of Bob Dylan as an example of how the   distinction between high and low culture is highly problematic
  • A provocative book for any student, scholar or general reader, who is interested in popular culture

About the Author

Perry Meisel is Professor of English at New York University. His books include The Myth of the Modern (1987), The Cowboy and the Dandy (1999), and The Literary Freud (2007). He has also written widely for publications that include The Village Voice, The New York Times, Partisan Review, and October.

Table of Contents

Preface: The Resistance to Pop

Acknowledgments

Part I "The Battle of the Brows"

1. A History of High and Low

"Highbrow," "Lowbrow," "Middlebrow"

"Folk" and "Soul"

Dante’s Republic

"General Converse": Johnson and the Long Eighteenth Century

"Similitude in Dissimilitude"

Keats and Mediocrity

Culture and Anarchy in the UK

"The Battle of the Brows"

"Kitsch"

The Myth of Popular Culture

2. Pop Culture in the Spectator

Poems of the People

Canons and "Camp"

Base and Superstructure, Soma and Psyche

3. Pop and Postmodernism

The Social Self

Andy Warhol

"Hey, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair"

Part II Dialectics of Pop

4. The Death of Kings: American Fiction from Cooper to Chandler

"Paleface" and "Redskin," Cowboy and Dandy

Pathfinding: Cooper and Mark Twain

Labor, Leisure, Love: Melville, James, Hemingway

Transatlantic: Raymond Chandler

5. Knock on Any Door: Three Histories of Hollywood 

Ars Gratia Artis

Benjamin, Bazin, Eisenstein

Dialectics of Directing: Hawks, Welles, Scorsese

Dialectics of Acting: Barrymore, Bogart, Brando

Blonde on Blonde: Harlow and Monroe

Hang ’Em High: Welles, Lewis, Eastwood

6. The Blues Misreading of Gospel: A History of Rock and Roll

A Scandal in Bohemia

Jazz Myth, Jazz Reality

Soul Synthesis

Plugging In

Buddy Holly and the British Invasion

The Body English

Part III The World of Bob Dylan

7. Dylan and the Critics

Falling

The Limits of Typology

Dylan as Poet

8. Words and Music

Fractions

"Slippin’ and Slidin’"

Dylan and Deferred Action

9. Dylan Himself

The Death of the Author

The Grand Tour and the Middle Passage

Hortatory

10. The Three Icons: Sinatra, Presley, Dylan

Iconography and Gender

The Fedora as Phallus

Elvis as Bobbysoxer

"My Darling Young One"

Works Cited

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9781405199339
Subtitle:
From Dante to Dylan
Author:
Meisel, Perry.
Author:
Meisel, Perry
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell
Subject:
Popular Culture
Subject:
Arts, Modern
Subject:
Popular Culture - General
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
Beatles; Bob Dylan; Adorno; High Culture; Low Culture; James Fenimore Cooper; Raymond Chandler; Jazz music; Mark Twain
Copyright:
Edition Description:
WOL online Book (not BRO)
Series:
Wiley-Blackwell Manifestos
Series Volume:
28
Publication Date:
20091222
Binding:
Online electronic file accessible through online networks
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
250 x 150 x 15 mm 17 oz

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
Science and Mathematics » Agriculture » General
Science and Mathematics » Geology » Paleontology

Blackwell Manifestos #28: The Myth of Popular Culture: From Dante to Dylan New Hardcover
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Product details 224 pages Wiley-Blackwell - English 9781405199339 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The Myth of Popular Culture from Dante to Dylan is a fascinating examination of the cultural traditions of the American novel, Hollywood, and British and American rock music which leads us to redefine our concept of the division between "high" and "low" culture.

  • A stimulating history of high and low culture from Dante Alighieri to Bob Dylan, providing a controversial defence of popular culture
  • Seeks to rebut the durable belief that only high culture is ‘dialectical’ and popular culture is not by turning Theodor Adorno’s theories on ‘pop’ against themselves
  • Presents a critical analysis of three popular traditions: the American novel, Hollywood, and British and American rock music
  • Offers an original account of Bob Dylan as an example of how the   distinction between high and low culture is highly problematic
  • A provocative book for any student, scholar or general reader, who is interested in popular culture

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