Explorations of Evil in Popular Music, October 15, 2010

full name / name of organization: 
Mark S. Graybill and Daniel Robinson

We seek 500-word proposals for essays to appear in a book collection tentatively entitled "Up Jumped the Devil: Explorations of Evil in Popular Music." The project will be a collaborative study of the aesthetic, ethical, and philosophical dimensions of popular music since the beginning of the twentieth century, including such genres as blues, folk, country, rock, and rap, and focusing especially on the way popular music engages such issues as evil, violence, God, Satan, existentialism, terrorism, sensibility, and others. Theoretical approaches to popular music are welcomed, especially to rock-and-roll and to songwriters (e.g., Johnny Cash, Nick Cave, Bruce Springsteen, Morrissey, Ray Davies, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello) whose work engages literary themes or employs literary techniques.

Suggested topics of special interest to the editors include:

Is Rock-n-Roll really the devil's music?
Rock and "Dark Romanticism"
the rock legacy of Milton, Blake, and Baudelaire
morbidity and melancholia in popular music
the blues as literature of sensibility
musical responses to 9/11 and the war on terror
popular music and political/historical consciousness
Satanism and rock / metal, death metal
other representations of the devil in blues, country, and rock culture
Goth and the Gothic
folk/rock/punk/rap as rebellion
the ethics/aesthetics of violence in song / murder ballads
the tension between secularism and spirituality in popular music
religion, theology or philosophy in popular music
Modernism and popular music
the intersection of literary and musical artists
sanctimonious rock stars
close readings of relevant albums or song-collections
music in film and television narratives of evil and violence
the musical collaborations of David Lynch
the terribleness of Sting
rock snobbery
bad taste and popular music
the careers of specific songwriters/recording artists whose work is relevant to the topic

Send your proposal and a current CV as MS Word attachments to Mark Graybill (msgraybill@mail.widener.edu) or Daniel Robinson (darobinson@mail.widener.edu) by October 15, 2010.