Elvis Culture: Fans, Faith, and Image

Elvis Culture: Fans, Faith, and Image

by Erika Doss
     
 

ISBN-10: 0700609482

ISBN-13: 9780700609482

Pub. Date: 04/28/1999

Publisher: University Press of Kansas

It doesn't matter how you remember him—rockabilly rebel, all-American boy, B-movie idol, patriotic G.I., or Las Vegas superstar. Elvis Presley is the most enduring image in American popular culture. This book explains why.

Other authors have explored Elvis's life and music, but Erika Doss now examines his multifaceted image as the key to understanding the

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Overview

It doesn't matter how you remember him—rockabilly rebel, all-American boy, B-movie idol, patriotic G.I., or Las Vegas superstar. Elvis Presley is the most enduring image in American popular culture. This book explains why.

Other authors have explored Elvis's life and music, but Erika Doss now examines his multifaceted image as the key to understanding the adulation that has survived his death. She has talked with fans and joined their clubs, studied their creations and made pilgrimages to Graceland, all to explore what these images mean to those who gaze upon them, make them, and collect them.

In researching Elvis Culture, Doss discovered that the visual image of Elvis endures because it was so carefully constructed from the start. Sifting through the visual glut of Elvisiana, she looks at how fans collect, arrange, and display Elvis paraphernalia, make Elvis artwork, and participate in the annual August rituals of Elvis Week. By engaging in these acts, she explains, they continually reinvent Elvis to mesh with their own personal and social preferences and to keep his memory alive.

Doss examines Elvis in specific contexts: as a religious icon honored in household shrines, as a focus of sexual fantasy for women and men (both straight and gay), as an inspiration for countless impersonators, and as an emblem of whiteness held in disdain by many blacks—despite his having crossed racial lines with his music. She also looks at how Elvis has become a sanitized, legally protected image controlled by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc., which bans the sale of black velvet paintings and licenses his likeness around the world.

As engrossing as it is informative, Elvis Culture strikingly demonstrates the power of pictures in our visual culture and reveals much about American attitudes toward religion, sex, race, and celebrity—as well as about the construction of American identity in the late twentieth century.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780700609482
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Publication date:
04/28/1999
Series:
Cultureamerica Series
Pages:
280
Product dimensions:
5.96(w) x 9.52(h) x 1.01(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Images of Elvis

Paying Homage to Elvis

Saint Elvis

Sexing Elvis

All-White Elvis

Who Owns Elvis?

Elvis Is America

Notes

Index

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