Johnny Cash And The Paradox Of American Identity

by Leigh Edwards, Leigh Edwards

Indiana University Press | February 4, 2009 | Trade Paperback

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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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 256 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.65 in

Published: February 4, 2009

Publisher: Indiana University Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0253220610

ISBN - 13: 9780253220615

Found in: Entertainment

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– More About This Product –

Johnny Cash And The Paradox Of American Identity

by Leigh Edwards, Leigh Edwards

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 256 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.65 in

Published: February 4, 2009

Publisher: Indiana University Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0253220610

ISBN - 13: 9780253220615

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
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
Notes
Works Cited
Index

From the Publisher

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.

About the Author

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

Editorial Reviews

"Edwards''s Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity is an exemplary study, setting a new standard for popular music scholarship that calls for a fundamental reassessment of the common tropes of country music and country music scholarship." -Notes, December 2010

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