CFP (Anthology): Rock and Romanticism

William Blake's original of America a Prophecy Plate 10/12, Copy A

CFP: Rock and Romanticism

NOTE: This page is continually being updated as I receive proposals or ideas for proposals. Please check the list below for topics covered. I am happy to accept more than one essay about the same figure, but of course these essays need to take different approaches. 

The editor of Rock and Romanticism is soliciting essays about the ways in which rock music, broadly defined, expands, interprets, restates, and conflicts with Romanticism, broadly defined. “Rock music” as a category will be extended to include all popular music since the 1950s, including but not limited to rock, varieties of metal, R&B, soul, varieties of punk, folk, techno, progressive rock, indie, new wave, alternative, psychedelic, industrial, gothic, funk, country, and blues. If the music has been written or performed since the 1950s and you’re wondering if it fits, the answer is “yes.” [1] For the purposes of this study, “Romanticism” will also be broadly defined, considering trans-European, trans-Atlantic, and global Romanticisms as well as Romanticism in literature, art, and music.

You can see a list matching potential musicians and Romantic-era literary figures, a provisional bibliography, and a sense of how I’m theorizing Romanticism on the blog post “Romanticism and Rock.”

Papers might consider

  • women in rock and women in Romanticism;
  • lyric poetry and song lyrics or song lyrics as lyric poetry;
  • readings of rock and Romanticism that compare
    • conditions between Europe during the Napoleonic wars and conditions in the post-McCarthy era and/or post 9-11 United States,
    • the 1960s or later Ireland or the UK, or
    • 1960s or later continental Europe, including Eastern Europe and the Baltic states (any possible essays on Rammstein and Romanticism?);
  • the gothic in literature and in music;
  • opera and the rock opera;
  • drug use, drug literature, and drug music of the eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries;
  • the pastoral in Romantic literature and in rock music;
  • adaptations, interpretations, direct responses to, and performances of Romantic-era texts by twentieth-century and later musicians;
  • the figure of Satan in Romanticism and in rock;
  • protest literature and protest music;
  • sexual identity in Romanticism and rock.

Ideal papers will theorize or historicize their subjects in a way that places rock music in a coherent dialog with Romantic-era art, literature, or music, contributing to a consideration of the boundaries or definition(s) of “Romanticism” as an artistic mode while also considering the implications of chronological, national, social, sexual, and/or economic difference. Papers from contemporary artists/musicians reflecting upon the influence of Romantic-era art, literature, or music upon their work are also welcome.

Please email a 250-500 word proposal that includes your name, title, institutional affiliation (if applicable), mailing address, email address, and a brief, updated CV to jamesrovira@gmail.com by August 1st, 2015. Completed papers, which should be within the 5000-7000 word range, are expected by November 15, 2015.

You can see a list of artists and poets with a provisional bibliography on the blog post “Romanticism and Rock.”

I have received notice of interest or proposals for the following figures:

Musician/Artist Romantic Era Connection Status
David Bowie and Brian Eno (late 70s) Wordsworth/Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads Proposal received and accepted
Nick Cave Romanticism/transgressive artist Proposal received and accepted
60s Dylan (not comprehensively) Blake and the Beat poets Proposal received and accepted
Dylan Keats and Shelley, or just Shelley Awaiting proposal
Marilyn Manson’s Triptych Blake and Bryon Proposal received and accepted
Various: it is a contribution by the author/director of a staged version of Werther set to music by Lou Reed, Florence and the Machine, Rhianna, etc. Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther Proposal in development
Woody Guthrie, Ballads of Sacco and Vanzetti Theorizes Guthrie’s ballads using Sayre and Lowy’s “Figures of Romantic Anti-Capitalism” Proposal received and accepted.
Iron Maiden Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” Awaiting proposal
Norwegian Black Metal Primitivism/return to nature Awaiting proposal
The Pretenders, Pretenders William Blake, Vision of the Daughters of Albion, comparing female responses to male aggression and passivity. Proposal received and accepted.
Martha Redbone’s Roots Project William Blake Proposal in development
Rolling Stones, “Sympathy for the Devil” Milton’s Satan Awaiting proposal
U2, Songs of Innocence Blake Awaiting proposal
Van Morrison VM himself as a Romantic poet, comp. to several Romantic-era figures, particularly Blake Proposal received and accepted
4AD Records’s This Mortal Coil project (includes The  Cocteau Twins) Walpole, Beckford, Shelley and Lewis Proposal received and accepted

[1] Except for disco, because disco sucks.

Classic Books on Zoetic Press

zoeticpress

Zoetic Press is a relatively new publishing company that produces interactive e-books using an app called “Lithomobilus.” It is at present only available only on iOS, but an Android version is coming soon. Their projects involve publishing ebooks that feature classic, public-domain novels alongside contemporary responses to them, and they have a literary magazine featuring books reviews as well. The table of contents for each work is a straight line down the middle of the screen displaying novel chapters to the left and contemporary responses to the right, chapter by chapter.

http://zoeticpress.com/

At present they have editions of Frankenstein, Alice in Wonderland, The Strangely-Brown Episode, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, The Wizard of Oz, Bulfinch’s Mythology, and The King in Yellow, plus one “Unbound” edition that is organized around an initial submission by a current writer followed up by response works. More are in the works.

An Open Letter to Aerosmith and Steve Tyler

steventylerlovesingle

Dear Steve Tyler:

What? I mean… what? Country?

http://abcnews.go.com/video/embed?id=32195621

You don’t know what this is doing to me.

You need to understand that you were the guys who really introduced me to rock and roll. Yes, you were. Ever since I listened to Aerosmith’s Rocks when I was thirteen I’ve wanted to grow my hair long and play guitar.

Yes, there have always been slight credibility problems at times. There’s no question Aerosmith was always intended to be America’s Rolling Stones. Too obvious a match, from the five-man lineup to the big-lipped brunette singer and bad boy persona. But your first three albums were great 70s blues-based rock and roll, and then you released Rocks, which is one of the great rock albums of the 70s, track for track. And as big a joke as the Sgt. Pepper’s film was, your cover of “Come Together” was a high point, alongside Earth, Wind and Fire and Billy Preston, so long as, in the latter case, you shut your eyes and just listened to the music. It went downhill from there — Draw and Line was a sloppier production, but it was still great rock and roll — until it hit a low point when Joe Perry left, but as a band Aerosmith still produced consistently good rock and roll albums from your first album through Night in the Ruts.

We can excuse the 80s, as Joe left for a few years. And I have to admit, Permanent Vacation was a real comeback in the late 80s. Forget the hits. It’s just a good rock album. But then another credibility problem surfaced: tin pan alley writers like Jim Vallance started helping you out, and your band took a distinct commercial turn in the 80s and 90s. I don’t mean to begrudge you your success, but again, you’re getting harder to defend here.

But I’ve always been able to say one thing, especially to my friends who are fans of the Rolling Stones, or who are younger and know you only from the 90s, and diss you mercilessly: at least Aerosmith never recorded any disco songs or any country songs. At least.

Until now.

You’re really making things hard, Tyler.

Couldn’t you have gone unplugged and called it “Americana” or something? I’d buy that. Plus, you know, you’d be at least trying to maintain a shred of dignity. At least a teeny little shred?

Dear Aerosmith:

I want you guys to drop Steve Tyler for one album. I want you to bring in Mick Jagger as a guest vocalist and songwriter. And I want you to name the album The Real Thing. You can do that because everyone still respects Joe. They never actually quit respecting Joe no matter what Aerosmith did.

Love,

A voice crying from the 70s.

PS I mean, seriously, guys, what’s next? A Jimmy Page disco album? Robert Plant already had his arse handed to him by a four foot tall fiddle player. The 70s would be dying a horrifying, ignoble death if Neil Young weren’t at least still recording protest music. And, oh yeah, what ever happened to protest music? I mean serious protest music. We need it now more than ever. Thank you, Neil Young. 

An Open Letter to Bloomsbury Academic

Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety

Dear Bloomsbury Academic:

I have three things to say to you:

1. You haven’t paid me in about two years for my book Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety (2010). It has sold about 300-400 copies during that period (I know, I’ve been checking Worldcat — it’s in 777 libraries as of today and was in about 300 in 2013), and my contract stipulates annual payments. These payments, such as they are (enough to buy a tank of gas and take my wife out on a date), have been coming around June. The book has obviously done well, as Continuum released it in paperback in 2011.

2. You haven’t responded to any of my emails over the last year. That’s what really annoys me.

3. So, you are in breach of contract.

I am letting all of my academic friends know and warning them away from publishing with you.

Get it together, and I will change my mind. I very much enjoyed working with the Continuum staff before Bloomsbury acquired it. Very professional, particularly their first class job of managing the editing. I’ve been singing your praises until now and would like to do so again. I really don’t want to make you look bad. I like you.

And, I need another tank of gas and my wife would probably appreciate another date.

Sincerely,

Jim

Mongolian Folk Metal: Tengger Cavalry

shaman-banner-full-1

Yes, there is such a thing as Mongolian Folk Metal, and it is being performed by the band Tengger Cavalry. It’s post-Metallica heavy metal combined with Mongolian folk instrumentation, which gives the band a feel and sound something like Kansas or Yes playing heavy metal or Porcupine Tree with more diverse instrumentation. In the five songs I’ve listened to on their new album, Blood Sacrifice Shaman, there aren’t so much vocals as there are vocal stylizations: vocals are being used like another musical instrument. Seriously rocks, well put-together. Check it out. You can stream their entire album on the website linked above.

If you’d like to explore world folk metals, check out this video:

If anyone would like to write an essay about folk metal and Romanticism, check out the CFP.

Two Videos on Bookmaking

Reminders that bookmaking is a trade and that a book is a work of art: