Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity: Profiles in Popular Music

Author: Leigh H. Edwards
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Category: Music Reviews & Criticism, Music Reviews & Criticism, Country & Western Music, Country & Western Music, Individual Composers & Musicians, Specific Bands & Groups, Individual Composers & Musicians, Specific Bands & Groups, Cultural Studies, Popular Culture
Book Format: Paperback

Throughout his career, Johnny Cash has been depicted-and has depicted himself-as a walking contradiction: social protestor and establishment patriot, drugged wildman and devout Christian crusader, rebel outlaw hillbilly thug and elder statesman. Leigh H. Edwards explores the allure of this paradoxical image and its cultural significance. She argues that Cash embodies irresolvable contradictions of American identity that reflect foundational issues in the American experience, such as the tensions between freedom and patriotism, individual rights and nationalism, the sacred and the profane. She illustrates how this model of ambivalence is a vital paradigm for American popular music, and for American identity in general. Making use of sources such as Cash's autobiographies, lyrics, music, liner notes, and interviews, Edwards pays equal attention to depictions of Cash by others, such as Vivian Cash's publication of his letters to her, documentaries and music journalism about him, Walk the Line, and fan club materials found in the archives at the Country Music Foundation in Nashville, to create a full portrait of Cash and his significance as a cultural icon.

Table Of Contents

Introduction: Cash as Contradiction

1. "What Is Truth?" Authenticity and Persona

2. "A Boy Named Sue": American Manhood

3. Gender and "The Beast in Me": Ramblers and Rockabillies

4. Race and Identity Politics

5. Man in Black: Class and National Mythologies

6. The Gospel Road: Cash as Saint and Sinner

Conclusion: "God's Gonna Cut You Down": Cultural Legacies


Works Cited

About Leigh H. Edwards
Leigh H. Edwards is Associate Professor of English at Florida State University. She lives in Tallahassee, Florida.


SKU BK-9780253220615
Barcode # 9780253220615
Brand Indiana University Press
Artist / Author Leigh H. Edwards
Shipping Weight 0.3800kg
Shipping Width 16.500m
Shipping Height 1.700m
Shipping Length 23.500m

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