The Great American Songbooks: Musical Texts, Modernism, and the Value of Popular Culture (Modernist Literature and Culture)

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9780199862115: The Great American Songbooks: Musical Texts, Modernism, and the Value of Popular Culture (Modernist Literature and Culture)

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, American authors pioneered a mode of musical writing that quite literally resounded beyond the printed page. Novels gained soundtracks, poetry compelled its audiences to sing, and the ostensibly silent act of reading became anything but. The Great American Songbooks is the story of this literature, at once an overview of musical and authorial practice at the century's turn, an investigation into the sensory dimensions of reading, and a meditation on the effects that the popular arts have had on literary modernism. The writings of John Dos Passos, Theodore Dreiser, T.S. Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, and Walt Whitman are heard in a new key; the performers and tunesmiths who inspired them have their stories told; and the music of the past, long out of print and fashion, is recapitulated and made available in digital form.

A work of criticism situated at the crossroads of literary analysis, musicology, and cultural history, The Great American Songbooks demonstrates the importance of studying fiction and poetry from interdisciplinary perspectives, and it suggests new avenues for research in the dawning age of the digital humanities.

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About the Author:


T. Austin Graham is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.

Review:


"Graham offers a textured literary history of the blues's circulation from popular song and through poetry."
--American Literature


"The Great American Songbooks encourages literary scholars to enrich their readings of nineteenth and twentieth century literary texts with a much-needed attention to music, and Graham's own efforts to do so reveal a remarkable and productive interdependence between literature and popular culture." --Twentieth-Century Literature


"Graham shows how the music can be revived and with it another way of understanding the literature." --The Times Literary Supplement


"[This book] revives an important debate about the cultural value of musical modernism, and offers its readers not only a distinctive thesis, but a distinctive soundtrack to accompany its deft articulation."--Will May, Journal of American Studies


"This valuable interdisciplinary book includes an online audio guide...Recommended." --CHOICE


"In this guide to the uncanny phonic instincts of American writers, Graham tunes into a literary jukebox purring alongside the more familiar songbooks of popular culture. Ranging from Eliot's 'jazz banjorine' and Fitzgerald's stage-lit prose to the Harlem Renaissance, The Great American Songbooks is a fittingly streamlined showcase for the musical playlist of American modernism." --Jed Rasula, University of Georgia


"A lively addition to work on music-literature relations, T. Austin Graham's The Great American Songbooks makes legible the soundtracks of canonical American writing, from the operatic airs of Leaves of Grass to the Broadway revues of Manhattan Transfer and beyond. This accessible synthesis should prove engaging to a wide audience, especially scholars of modernism, sound studies, and American culture in the era of its mechanical reproduction." --John Picker, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Great American Songbooks shows how popular music shapes and permeates a host of modernism s hallmark texts. Austin Graham begins his study of 20th-century texts with a discussion of American popular music and literature in the 19th century. He posits Walt Whitman as a proto-modernist who drew on his love of opera to create the epic free-verse poetry that would heavily influence his bardic successors. One can witness this in T. S. Eliot, whose poem The Waste Land relies on Whitman s verse style to emphasize how 19th-century structures of feeling regarding music persist into the 20th century. From opera and standards of the Victorian musical hall, Graham moves to the blues to reveal the multifaceted ways it shaped works in the Harlem Renaissance, most notably in the verse of Langston Hughes and Jean Toomer s stream-of-consciousness masterpiece, Cane. The second half of Songbooks advances an argument for a musical eclecticism that arose alongside rapid industrialization. Writers like Scott Fitzgerald and John Dos Passos, Graham argues, developed a notion of musical eclecticism to help them process-or cope-with the unprecedented invasiveness of popular music, particularly in major cities. This eclecticism runs counter to critics like Adorno who equate popular music with mass produced mechanisms such as the phonograph and radio, and thus with degraded, cultural forms. In conclusion, Graham suggests how modernist writers experienced, and sometimes theorized, a more nuanced, sophisticated, and fluid mode of interaction with popular music. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199862115

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Great American Songbooks shows how popular music shapes and permeates a host of modernism s hallmark texts. Austin Graham begins his study of 20th-century texts with a discussion of American popular music and literature in the 19th century. He posits Walt Whitman as a proto-modernist who drew on his love of opera to create the epic free-verse poetry that would heavily influence his bardic successors. One can witness this in T. S. Eliot, whose poem The Waste Land relies on Whitman s verse style to emphasize how 19th-century structures of feeling regarding music persist into the 20th century. From opera and standards of the Victorian musical hall, Graham moves to the blues to reveal the multifaceted ways it shaped works in the Harlem Renaissance, most notably in the verse of Langston Hughes and Jean Toomer s stream-of-consciousness masterpiece, Cane. The second half of Songbooks advances an argument for a musical eclecticism that arose alongside rapid industrialization. Writers like Scott Fitzgerald and John Dos Passos, Graham argues, developed a notion of musical eclecticism to help them process-or cope-with the unprecedented invasiveness of popular music, particularly in major cities. This eclecticism runs counter to critics like Adorno who equate popular music with mass produced mechanisms such as the phonograph and radio, and thus with degraded, cultural forms. In conclusion, Graham suggests how modernist writers experienced, and sometimes theorized, a more nuanced, sophisticated, and fluid mode of interaction with popular music. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199862115

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The Great American Songbooks shows how popular music shapes and permeates a host of modernism s hallmark texts. Austin Graham begins his study of 20th-century texts with a discussion of American popular music and literature in the 19th century. He posits Walt Whitman as a proto-modernist who drew on his love of opera to create the epic free-verse poetry that would heavily influence his bardic successors. One can witness this in T. S. Eliot, whose poem The Waste Land relies on Whitman s verse style to emphasize how 19th-century structures of feeling regarding music persist into the 20th century. From opera and standards of the Victorian musical hall, Graham moves to the blues to reveal the multifaceted ways it shaped works in the Harlem Renaissance, most notably in the verse of Langston Hughes and Jean Toomer s stream-of-consciousness masterpiece, Cane. The second half of Songbooks advances an argument for a musical eclecticism that arose alongside rapid industrialization. Writers like Scott Fitzgerald and John Dos Passos, Graham argues, developed a notion of musical eclecticism to help them process-or cope-with the unprecedented invasiveness of popular music, particularly in major cities. This eclecticism runs counter to critics like Adorno who equate popular music with mass produced mechanisms such as the phonograph and radio, and thus with degraded, cultural forms. In conclusion, Graham suggests how modernist writers experienced, and sometimes theorized, a more nuanced, sophisticated, and fluid mode of interaction with popular music. Bookseller Inventory # BZE9780199862115

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