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Though he was born into a time when African Americans were denied basic civil rights and economic opportunities, Scott Joplin's musical form was eagerly embraced by the white middle class. Curtis counterpoints the story of American cultural history with fascinating events from Joplin's life to provide an engaging portrait of the man and the musician. 20 illustrations.
"Dancing to a Black Man's Tune renders Scott Joplin as a man and an artist whose musical genius served as his weapon in the struggle toward a whole America. Susan Curtis's book is more than biography, more than cultural history. It is a skillfully interwoven telling of Joplin's story within the mosaic of America's social and cultural evolution at the turn of the century."
--John Hope Franklin
"If one is to know American culture and the place and trials and tribulations' of African American music in setting the foundation and flavor of American music, Dancing to a Black Man's Tune is, to date, the primary source. . . . This is a book that students of American serious and popular culture should quickly read and place in their libraries."--Journal of American History
"Curtis sets Joplin in his context and evaluates the scope and importance of his contribution to American culture. . . . Especially good in avoiding clichés while discussing the tensions between white commercial demands on Joplin and his desire to compose his more serious music, this is a highly useful book well done."--Booklist
"Curtis has written a fine book with a broad scope, one that needed to be written. . . . Curtis has set impressive standards of historical inquiry in this book, creating a lucid argument about the meaning of Scott Joplin and ragtime."--Gateway Heritage
"What makes this biography truly outstanding is the author's skillful and always sharply analytical exploration of the varied worlds in which Joplin traveled. . . . Curtis has composed an appealing tune of her own--a fine book that deserves a hearty ovation."--Historian
"For those who have fallen in love with Joplin's joyfully syncopated rags . . . or those who simply want to better understand the roots of the black contribution to American music, it is a rewarding read."--Christian Science Monitor
"Dancing to a Black Man's Tune is a much-needed addition. Aside from the general value of placing Joplin's life within the complex and dynamic cultural changes of his time, Curtis introduces or reinforces extremely important, but typically overlooked, facts. . . . This is a significant contribution to the study of Joplin and his music and to the study of American culture."
--Journal of Southern History
|1||Reconstructing a childhood; reconstructing the nation||19|
|2||1893 : the Columbian exposition, economic depression, and the embrace of ragtime||45|
|3||Joplin and Sedalia : the king of ragtime in the queen city of Missouri||68|
|4||The incorporation of ragtime||98|
|5||Lost in urban America||129|
|6||The legacy of Scott Joplin||161|