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Robert Johnson, Mythmaking, and Contemporary American Culture : Music in American Life - Patricia R. Schroeder

Robert Johnson, Mythmaking, and Contemporary American Culture

Music in American Life

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Suddenly Robert Johnson is everywhere. Tough the Mississippi bluesman died young and recorded only twenty-nine songs, the legacy, legend, and lore surrounding him continue to grow. Focusing on these developments, Patricia R. Schroeder's Robert Johnson, Mythmaking, and Contemporary American Culture breaks new ground in Johnson scholarship, going beyond simple or speculative biography to explore him in his larger role as a contemporary cultural icon. Part literary analysis, part cultural criticism, and part biographical study, Robert Johnson, Mythmaking, and Contemporary American Culture shows the Robert Johnson of today to be less a two-dimensional character fixed by the few known facts of his life than a dynamic and contested set of ideas. Represented in novels, in plays, and even on a postage stamp, he provides inspiration for "high-brow" cultural artifacts--such as poems--as well as Hollywood movies and T-shirts. Schroeder's detailed and scholarly analysis directly engages key images and stories about Johnson (such as the Faustian crossroads exchange of his soul for guitar virtuosity), navigating the many competing interpretations that swirl around him to reveal the cultural purposes these stories and their tellers serve. Unprecedented in both range and depth, Schroeder's work is a fascinating examination of the relationships among Johnson's life, its subsequent portrayals, and the cultural forces that drove these representations. With penetrating insights into both Johnson and the society that perpetuates him, Robert Johnson, Mythmaking, and Contemporary American Culture is essential reading for cultural critics and blues fans alike.

"Ms. Schroeders's book is aimed at and is important for students of social evolution, societal history, and the creation of myths ... "--VJM's Jazz and Blues Mart, Issue 137 Spring 2005

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: Mythologies of Robert Johnsonp. 1
Robert Johnson as Contested Spacep. 19
The Invention of the Pastp. 58
The Paradox of Authenticityp. 92
The New Cultural Politics of Differencep. 113
Virtual Robert Johnsonp. 136
Conclusion: Robert Johnson, a Strange Attractorp. 159
Web Sitesp. 165
Notesp. 167
Works Citedp. 171
Indexp. 185
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780252029158
ISBN-10: 0252029151
Series: Music in American Life
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 216
Published: 31st August 2004
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.45