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Author Archive: "Douglas Wolk"

33 1/3: Four Books That Influenced Live at the Apollo Rather Heavily

[Editor's Note: In honor of our 33 1/3 salebuy two new (not used or sale) books from Continuum Books' 33 1/3 series, featuring critical writing on seminal albums, and get a third free — we're pleased to feature blog posts from some of the people behind the 33 1/3 series.]

1. George W. S. Trow, Within the Context of No Context

Trow, an essayist and occasional fiction writer who died last year, wrote this essay in 1980 — a meditation on television, American culture, the cult of celebrity, and where we are going and what we are doing in this particular handbasket. It's one of the most astonishing pieces of writing I've ever seen: not for its argument, as strong as it is, but for its sheer slashing style. Here's a little piece of it from its original appearance in The New Yorker (complete with charming extra hyphen in the title). I ripped off Trow's short-sections-with-headlines-that-sometimes-repeat trick outright for Live at the Apollo, and to make up for that, quoted a couple of lines from it, in a fairly inappropriate context — which seemed perversely appropriate. ...

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