Lonesome Words: The Vocal Poetics of the Old English Lament and the African-American Blues Song / Edition 1

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Overview

The tenth-century Old English lament and twentieth-century blues song each speak the language of a distinct poetic tradition, yet the voices are remarkably similar in their emotive expression of loneliness. This innovative study juxtaposes the texts of each corpus to explore the features that characterize their vocal poetics. McGeachy examines how the texts evoke the dynamic of performance and explores the role of recording—in manuscript and on 78 rpm record—in establishing the distinctive formulas of each genre. Featured are a study of blues artist Robert Johnson's work and a comparison of two anthologies: the Exeter Book and the Folkways Anthology of American Folk Music.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Lonesome Words makes a strong contribution to comparative poetics in the typological rather than the genetic sense. McGeachy successfully explores a hierarchy of comparisons from verbal formulæ to social and historical contexts for production in the Old English lament and the African-American blues song. In both corpora she examines themes of wandering, of exile and imprisonment, and of a lost but happier past, and the conclusions she draws from these comparisons are salient and comprehensive." —John Lewis, Associate Professor of English, Southern Methodist University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403962911
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 5/13/2006
  • Series: The New Middle Ages Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.45 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret G. McGeachy is Assistant Professor of English at D'Youville College.

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Table of Contents

Captivated Performance
• Recording the Formula
• Jailbreak
• Anthologizing Sorrow
• Conclusion

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