In life, Elvis Presley went from childhood poverty to stardom, from world fame to dissipation and early death. As Greil Marcus shows in this remarkable book, Presley's journey after death takes him even further, pushing him beyond his own frontiers to merge with the American public consciousness—and the American subconscious.
As he listens in on the public conversation that recreates Elvis after death, Marcus tracks the path of Presley's resurrection. He grafts together scattered fragments of the eclectic dialogue—snatches of movies and music, books and newspapers, photographs, posters, cartoons—and amazes us with not only what America has been saying as it raises its late king, but also what this strange obsession with a dead Elvis can tell us about America itself.
Marcus's rapt attention to what Elvis continues to mean is both transmitted and justified in a splendid piece of critical art ... a marvelous and profane book about a cultural symbol of cultural symbol-making.
The evidence Marcus has gathered suggests that Presley's posthumous appeal has to do with our ferocious ambivalence toward him, a blend of worship and revulsion, obeisance and revolutionary desire. Sympathetically despising what Presley became, everyone is now in on--not the joke, but the remaking of their world.
Go no further for the biggest thoughts about the biggest ever pop icon.
Marcus shows that the rupture that was Elvis in 1954-57 lives on, below and above ground, glowing in grotesque and still dangerous half-life.
- 288 pages
- 7 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
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