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A Race of Singers: Whitman's Working-Class Hero from Guthrie to Springsteen / Edition 1
     

A Race of Singers: Whitman's Working-Class Hero from Guthrie to Springsteen / Edition 1

by Bryan K. Garman
 

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ISBN-10: 0807848662

ISBN-13: 9780807848661

Pub. Date: 09/11/2000

Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press

When Walt Whitman published Leaves of Grass in 1855, he dreamed of inspiring a "race of singers" who would celebrate the working class and realize the promise of American democracy. By examining how singers such as Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen both embraced and reconfigured Whitman's vision, Bryan Garman shows that Whitman succeeded. In

Overview

When Walt Whitman published Leaves of Grass in 1855, he dreamed of inspiring a "race of singers" who would celebrate the working class and realize the promise of American democracy. By examining how singers such as Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen both embraced and reconfigured Whitman's vision, Bryan Garman shows that Whitman succeeded. In doing so, Garman celebrates the triumphs yet also exposes the limitations of Whitman's legacy.

While Whitman's verse propounded notions of sexual freedom and renounced the competitiveness of capitalism, it also safeguarded the interests of the white workingman, often at the expense of women and people of color. Garman describes how each of Whitman's successors adopted the mantle of the working-class hero while adapting the role to his own generation's concerns: Guthrie condemned racism in the 1930s, Dylan addressed race and war in the 1960s, and Springsteen explored sexism, racism, and homophobia in the 1980s and 1990s.

But as Garman points out, even the Boss, like his forebears, tends to represent solidarity in terms of white male bonding and homosocial allegiance. We can hear America singing in the voices of these artists, Garman says, but it is still the song of a white, male America.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807848661
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
09/11/2000
Series:
Cultural Studies of the United States Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
1,248,954
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.85(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsix
Introduction: Be Radical--Be Not too Damned Radical1
Part I.Programs of Culture
1For the Workingman's Sake: Imagining a Working-Class Hero17
2Heroic Spiritual Grandfather: Whitman and the Anticapitalist Imagination, 1890-194043
Part II.Living Leaves of Grass
3Prophet Singer: Guthrie and the Legacy of Whitman81
4Songs the People Sing: Guthrie's Cultural Politics104
Part III.Several Yarns, Tales, and Stories
5Woody's Children: Seeger, Dylan, and the New Left135
6Bound for Glory: The Politics of Cultural Memory164
Part IV.Ghosts of History
7The Sins of Somebody Else's Past: Springsteen and the Burden of Tradition195
8A Good Clear Eye on the Dirty Ways of the World: Springsteen's Democratic Vistas227
Encore: This Hard Land253
Notes259
Bibliography305
Index327

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