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Reading the Boss: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Works of Bruce Springsteen Paperback – August 14, 2010
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This collection focuses explicitly on Bruce Springsteen's literary connections: to the authors Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, and John Steinbeck (among others), and to the tensions in his songcraft, whether of rebellion and rootedness, or gender and blue-collar ethnic masculinity. In contrast to a discourse often filled with praise-song, these essays instead hone in on the artistic elements Springsteen wields to create moments of redemption for his everyday alienated working-class characters. (Joel Dinerstein, associate professor in the department of English at Tulane University)
College-level music and literary collections alike will find this a winner! (Midwest Book Review)
Call it what you will -- hyperbolic, hagiographic, hilarious -- but Roxanne Harde and Irwin Streight, editors of Reading the Boss, liken their subject to a modern-day Shakespeare. Their introduction, "The Bard of Asbury Park," adumbrates some of the literary traits the two share; beyond a 2009 cover photo from Rolling Stone and its resemblance to the famous Chandos portrait of the Bard, there's Springsteen's abiding interest in loco-descriptive histories, or stories involving a particular place (i.e. Nebraska, Thunder Road, E Street), class struggle, song cycles and the fact that both the Boss and the Bard "offer a profound insight into the hungry human heart -- and Springsteen, arguably, with more breadth and depth than any other current American singer-songwriter" (6)....editors Harde and Streight have assembled some informative and insightful approaches to the Bard of the Garden State. (Rocky Mountain Review)
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Referring to comments by Springsteen's first manager, Mike Appel -- who suggested that Springsteen's lyrics could place him among "the literary greats" -- and other commentators and scholars who have noticed Shakespearean elements in his songcraft, editors Irwin Streight and Roxanne Harde offer readers a thoughtful selection of essays that explore his songwriting themes, commitments, influences, and "exploration of the dark heart of humanity" through his music.
Working from the critical assumption that Springsteen's lyrics are literary works worthy of exploration in their own right, Streight and Harde's selection of essays explore his songs, performances and text, while focusing on the language, craft and structure of his lyrics. Their twenty-page Introduction sets out the parameters of the book, outlines the positions of the scholarly community, and provides an annotated guide to relevant sources that scholarly readers may want to pursue for further study.
The essays themselves are of such a quality and offer such a diversity of perspectives that scholars, general readers and music critics alike will want to purchase and read this collection.Read more ›