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1960s music and the contemporary American novel


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Cvetković, Ida. (2017). 1960s music and the contemporary American novel. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature. [mentor Cvek, Sven].

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Music and literature have always been connected. The influence of literature and its presence in music is more widely known than the other way around, although music also impacted literature. The thematic connections have always existed between the two and the influence can also be seen in various themes that both media portray. Magome Kiyoko writes that “music and literature are the so-called ‘sister arts,’ and since around 1890, many of the American writers who use music in their works have created their hybrid, musico-literary worlds by focusing on two or three of the following musical elements: counterpoint, Wagnerian music dramas, and player pianos.ˮ (N. pag.) The counterculture of the 1960s and the rise of various movements at the time have inspired authors and other artists in the last 50 years, including the American novel. To demonstrate this, three contemporary American novels will be used to show how the counterculture of the 1960s or, more precisely, music created at the time, found its way to the American literature. To illustrate this, the following novels will be analyzed; George R.R. Martin's The Armageddon Rag, Sherman Alexie's Reservation Blues and Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad. The novels were published in 1983, 1995 and 2010, covering the period of the last three decades. The role and usage of music in these three works is different, but the authors have at least one thing in common; they have found their inspiration at the same place and time. Before focusing on the analysis of the novels, we will say something more about the connections between music and literature, their mutual influences and developing field of their interaction as a field study; musico–literary studies. Since the focus of this work is the music of the counterculture, more precisely rock music, we will also say something more about this important period in the American history and its soundtrack. It was a period which transformed American society and its long–held tradition and values. Rock music was a sound of revolution, medium of transferring its messages and gathering the masses. Precisely rock music and its presence in the contemporary American novel are the two key determinants of this work; my aim is to investigate whether there are traces of rock music in the American novel and if there are, what is their function. Are the two in any way connected, do they influence each other, and in which ways? The three chosen novels will be analyzed to give us answers to these questions. After the analyses, we will try to position the thesis in the corresponding directions of music and literature as a field of study.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Subjects: English language and literature > American Studies
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Cvek, Sven
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2017 11:33
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2017 11:33

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