Women in Rock, Women in Romanticism Now Available from Routledge

Women in Rock, Women in Romanticism (Routledge 2022) is the first book-length work to explore the interrelationships among contemporary female musicians and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art, music, and literature by women and men. The art, music, and videos of contemporary artists including Erykah Badu, Beyoncé, The Carters, Missy Elliot, the Indigo Girls, Janet Jackson, Janis Joplin (and Big Brother and the Holding Company), Natalie Merchant, Joni Mitchell, Janelle Monáe, Alanis Morrisette, Siouxsie Sioux, Patti Smith, St. Vincent (Annie Clark), and Alice Walker are explored through the lenses of the pastoral, Afropresentism, the Gothic, male and female Gothic, and the music and literature of Hélène Cixous, William Blake, Beethoven, Arthur Schopenhauer, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charlotte Dacre, Ralph Waldo Emerson, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Ann Radcliffe, William Shakespeare, Mary Shelley, her husband Percy Shelley, Henry David Thoreau, Horace Walpole, Jane Williams, Mary Wollstonecraft, and William Wordsworth to explore how each sheds light on the other, and how women have appropriated, responded to, and been inspired by the work of authors from previous centuries.

Contributors to Women in Rock, Women in Romanticism (Routledge 2022) participated in a virtual book launch on Saturday, November 19th, 2022. You can meet the contributors and listen to them discuss their chapters here:

Table of Contents

Introduction, James Rovira

1. Are Women in Rock also Women in Romanticism?, James Rovira

2. Jane Williams, Rolling Stone: Reconstructing British Romanticism’s Guitar God(dess), Rebecca Nesvet

3. “Work Me, Lord”: Janis Joplin’s Kozmic Blues, Sasha Tamar Strelitz

4. “All Romantics Meet the Same Fate Someday”: Joni Mitchell, Blue, and Romanticism, Christopher R. Clason

5. “There is no pure evil, nor pure good, only purity”: William Blake’s and Patti Smith’s Art as Opposition to Societal Boundaries. Alicia Carpenter

6. “A Woman with an Attitude”: Male and Female Gothic in Siouxsie and the Banshees, Diana Edelman

7. “Our Generation”: Gender, Regeneration and Women in Rock, Linda C. Middleton

8. “Laughing with a Mouth of Blood”: St. Vincent’s Gothic Grotesque, Sherry R. Truffin

9. “I can’t believe we made it”: Romanticism and Afropresentism in Works of African American Female Hip Hop and R‘n’B Artists, Kirsten Zemke

Index

If you’d like to support the author, purchase a copy directly from him through PayPal

9781003204855.indd

Women In Rock, Women in Romanticism

Women in Rock. Women in Romanticism (Routledge, 2022) is the first book-length work exploring the interrelationships among contemporary women rock musicians and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art and literature, the literature of the Romantic era. LIMITED QUANTITIES ONLY available at a 37% discount.

$100.00

Virtual Book Launch Women in Rock, Women in Romanticism

I’m pleased to announce the publication of Women in Rock, Women in Romanticism (Routledge, 2022), which is the first book-length work to explore the interrelationships among contemporary female musicians and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art, music, and literature by women and men. The music and videos of contemporary musicians including Erykah Badu, Beyoncé, The Carters, Missy Elliot, the Indigo Girls, Janet Jackson, Janis Joplin (and Big Brother and the Holding Company), Natalie Merchant, Joni Mitchell, Janelle Monáe, Alanis Morrisette, Siouxsie Sioux, Patti Smith, St. Vincent (Annie Clark), and Alice Walker are explored through the lenses of pastoral and Afropresentism, Hélène Cixous, Gothic, male and female Gothic, and the literature of William Blake, Beethoven, Arthur Schopenhauer, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charlotte Dacre, Ralph Waldo Emerson, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Ann Radcliffe, William Shakespeare, Mary Shelley, her husband Percy Shelley, Henry David Thoreau, Horace Walpole, Jane Williams, Mary Wollstonecraft, and William Wordsworth to explore how each sheds light on the other and how women have appropriated, responded to, and been inspired by the work of authors from previous centuries.

You can read more about the book here.

https://www.routledge.com/Wom…/Rovira/p/book/9781032069845

I will be hosting a virtual book launch this coming Saturday, November 19th from noon to 3:00 p.m. ET (we’re off Daylight Savings Time now, -5 UTC). The book launch will be held simultaneously on Zoom and on Instagram live streaming at the account rock.and.romanticism:

https://www.instagram.com/rock.and.romanticism/

The lineup is as follows.

If you’d like to attend on Zoom, please email me privately for the session login. Feel free to promote the session on social media and elsewhere.

11:55-12:10 – Jim Rovira introducing the book and session.

12:10-12:30 – Alicia Carpenter on William Blake and Patti Smith

12:30-12:50 – Rebecca Nesvet on Jane Williams and the figure of the rolling stone

12:50-1:10 – Sasha Strelitz on Janis Joplin and “electric Romanticism.”

1:10-1:30 – Christopher Clason – on Joni Mitchell and German Romanticism

1:30-1:50 – Diana Edelman – on Siouxsie Sioux and the male/female Gothic

1:50-2:10 – Sherry Truffin on St. Vincent, the Gothic, and the grotesque

2:10-2:30 – Kristen Zemke on Romanticism and Afropresentism in Erykah Badu, Missy Elliott, and Beyonce

2:30-2:50 – Sherry Truffin interviews Jim Rovira on Schopenhauer, music, and women in German Romanticism, and the extension of that topic to the study of British Romanticism and women in rock.

Each section will reserve five minutes at the end for questions.

When David Bowie Was a Muppet

In many ways, Bowie defied categorization by transcending binary identities like male and female or heterosexual and homosexual. Bowie even escaped fixed labeling as a musician, artist, actor, or performer, thereby asserting that rational order’s authority over individuals is illusory. His embrace of opposing images (male vs. female, public vs. private) was the linchpin of his commitment to his own genuine selfhood.

Aglaia Maretta Venters, David Bowie and Romanticism, pp. 185-6.

I’d never thought of Bowie’s performance in the 1986 film Labyrinth as reducing him to one of Jim Henson’s muppets until now. Perhaps I still don’t. I think that performance elevated him to the status of one of Jim Henson’s muppets, perhaps the best muppet of them all. Bowie certainly had fun with the role; while the film performed poorly at the box office, grossing only about half of its production costs in the US, it’s never been seen as one of Bowie’s embarrassments, and it’s developed a cult following since then. An entire generation became Bowie fans because of this film, and Toija Cinque and Sean Redmond in The Fandom of David Bowie (2019) reports that a number of young female fans experienced a kind of sexual awakening after watching this film — the codpiece! (pp. 32, 45).

Aglaia Venters provocatively argues in “The Goblin King, Absurdity, and Nonbinary Thinking,” chapter 9 of David Bowie and Romanticism, that Bowie’s character Jareth was not a villain at all, but seemed to act more consistently in the interests of the young heroine’s (perf. Jennifer Connelly) growth and development. Through an extended close reading of the film, she characterizes Bowie’s Romanticism through its destabilization of normally stable binary opposites: hero/villain, actor/character, masculine/feminine, etc.

Check out the iTunes playlist for David Bowie and Romanticism.

You can read more in David Bowie and Romanticism. Order it from the Bookstore or have your local, college, or university library order it.

Aglaia Maretta Venters teaches in the History Department at South Louisiana Community College. She has recently published a chapter on Hegel in Reading as Democracy in Crisis: Interpretation, Theory, History (Lexington, 2019) and has forthcoming publications on French Renaissance political theory and Jesuit paradigms for understanding the tensions between reason and faith.

David Bowie and Drug Literature from the Eighteenth Century to the 1970s

[Aleister] Crowley does not figure on Bowie’s debut LP, but by the time of Man Who Sold the World (1970) and Hunky Dory (1971), he would be an influence directly on Bowie’s lyrics and continued to influence Bowie’s lyrics, ideas, and philosophies throughout the 1970s. Of particular interest to this chapter are Crowley’s experiments with drugs and his ideas about how drug use is related to creativity and religious experience, two ideas that Bowie also pursued in his work.

Eric Pellerin, David Bowie and Romanticism, pp. 69-70

Between 1970s’ drug culture and its ultimate origin, Romantic-era drug literature in the works of Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), lies Aleister Crowley’s (1875-1947) Diary of a Drug Fiend (1922), the seminal work of an author who became a central figure to many rock figures of the 1960s and 1970s, even appearing in the upper left corner of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967). Diary of a Drug Fiend is generally considered a roman à clef: a work of fiction based upon real people and actual events. Crowley, in my opinion, is generally misunderstood in some ways that he would find flattering and in other ways that he brought upon himself, and it’s not clear to me that the work needed to understand him would yield much in the way of real benefit. But he deserves the dignity of honesty about his legacy–while I’m not a Crowley scholar, and never will be, I will attempt to tell the truth about him as someone who is neither an adept in his religion nor hostile toward him as “the most evil man alive.”

Check out the iTunes playlist for David Bowie and Romanticism.

Crowley’s Diary of a Drug Fiend follows the life of Sir Peter Pendragon, a minor English aristocrat who, early in the story, on a single night meets a woman whom he marries without knowing and takes cocaine for the first time. Their honeymoon consists of a drug-fueled romp across Europe that becomes part tragedy and part comedy of errors, as Pendragon’s judgment is badly impaired by drug use. They progress from cocaine to heroin, rapidly degenerating into a serious addiction that leads them to the point of suicide until rescued by Basil King Lamus, who had been their guide through drug use from the beginning and is a leader in the religion of Thelema. On the one hand, the narrative propagates the myth that even heroin use can be controlled to lead users to higher states of consciousness, but on the other hand, it is graphic, detailed, accurate, and unflinching in its depiction of the worst aspects of heroin addiction.

Thelema in this novel and its follow-up, Moonchild, is a syncretist religion that appears to me to use the Sefirot (Kabbalah’s Tree of Life) for its conceptual structure, the teachings of Christ for its moral consciousness, and then associates the insights of other religions and empirical science on different nodes of the Sefirot. Adherents of this religion practice “magick,” which because of Thelema’s study of nature is able to create real effects in the world (according to the religion). “Magick” is therefore not an occult practice as commonly understood but the proper understanding of the relationship between human beings and the natural world, the ultimate integration of empirical science, philosophy, psychology, and religion.

The fundamental principle of Thelema is “Do what thou wilt,” but it’s carefully distinguished from “Do as thou wilt,” the former being the practice of deliberate action moving toward carefully chosen goals while the latter is the practice of caprice or mood without regard for consequences. Thelema and the practice of magick by its own account should be distinguished from Satanism and the practice of black magic: while Crowley could write poems like “Hymn to Satan” in the very early twentieth century, probably working with a gnostic view of Satan, by the 1930s he would compare practicing black magic to a mouse trying to make a pact with a cat. Thelema, overall, is conceptually naive in that it makes identifications among objects based on superficial similarities alone, and it is dependent upon early twentieth-century science only partially understood by the author. However, in many ways, it’s not hard to see how so many rock stars from the 1960s and 1970s would be attracted to Crowley — Diary of a Drug Fiend at times reads like a user manual for a 70s’ rock star: the life of someone wealthy, aristocratic, young, and free.

Eric Pellerin in chapter 4 of David Bowie and Romanticism, “Drug Use and Drug Literature from the Eighteenth Century to David Bowie,” covers the ground described in his title, locating Bowie’s 1970s’ lifestyle and songwriting about drug use at the end of a lineage of drug literature that begins with Coleridge and De Quincey, moves through Baudelaire and Crowley, and then moves on to David Bowie with additional discussion of contemporaries such as Jimmy Page.

Read more in David Bowie and Romanticism: you can order the book from The Bookstore or ask your local, college, or university library to order it for you.

Eric Pellerin is Assistant Professor and the Electronic Resources & Serials Management Librarian at Medgar Evers College, CUNY. His research interests include genre theory, authorship in film, and Hong Kong cinema.

October 8th Book Talk about David Bowie and Romanticism

I held a follow-up book talk about David Bowie and Romanticism on October 8th, 2022, at Savvy Vinyl Records in Melbourne, FL with the owner, Michelle Pessaro. We talked about David Bowie and Romantic androgyny, David Bowie and fascism, and Bowie’s ongoing cultural profile. Check it out below, and check out The Bookstore for a special deal on the book.

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