THE WILLIAM E. MASSEY SR. LECTURES IN AMERICAN STUDIES
Cover: Three Songs, Three Singers, Three Nations, from Harvard University PressCover: Three Songs, Three Singers, Three Nations in HARDCOVER

The William E. Massey Sr. Lectures in American Studies 2013

Three Songs, Three Singers, Three Nations

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$19.95 • £15.95 • €18.00

ISBN 9780674187085

Publication Date: 10/07/2015

Trade

176 pages

4-3/8 x 7-1/8 inches

4 halftones

The William E. Massey Sr. Lectures in American Studies

World

Listen to a Spotify playlist of music Greil Marcus traces through Three Songs, Three Singers, Three Nations:

Greil Marcus has been one of the most distinctive voices in American music criticism for over forty years. His books, including Mystery Train and The Shape of Things to Come, traverse soundscapes of folk and blues, rock and punk, attuning readers to the surprising, often hidden affinities between the music and broader streams of American politics and culture.

Drawn from Marcus’s 2013 Massey Lectures at Harvard, his new work delves into three episodes in the history of American commonplace song: Bascom Lamar Lunsford’s 1928 “I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground,” Geeshie Wiley’s 1930 “Last Kind Words Blues,” and Bob Dylan’s 1964 “Ballad of Hollis Brown.” How each of these songs manages to convey the uncanny sense that it was written by no one illuminates different aspects of the commonplace song tradition. Some songs truly did come together over time without an identifiable author. Others draw melodies and motifs from obscure sources but, in the hands of a particular artist, take a final, indelible shape. And, as in the case of Dylan’s “Hollis Brown,” there are songs that were written by a single author but that communicate as anonymous productions, as if they were folk songs passed down over many generations.

In three songs that seem to be written by no one, Marcus shows, we discover not only three different ways of talking about the United States but three different nations within its formal boundaries.

Recent News

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Number of the Heavens: A History of the Multiverse and the Quest to Understand the Cosmos, by Tom Siegfried, from Harvard University Press

Q&A with Tom Siegfried, author of The Number of the Heavens: A History of the Multiverse and the Quest to Understand the Cosmos

In The Number of the Heavens, Tom Siegfried, the award-winning former editor of Science News, shows that one of the most fascinating and controversial ideas in contemporary cosmology—the existence of multiple parallel universes—has a long and divisive history that continues to this day. We spoke to him about the possible existence of a multiverse and the co

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library (loebclassics.com) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.