Meisel begins his engaging discussion by refuting philosopher Theodor Adorno′s assertion that high culture is dialectical and pop is not, showing that popular culture does indeed have a conversation both with its sources and with cultural authority as a whole. In the final section, Meisel turns his attention to Bob Dylan, a figure who, more than any other, shows what it means to synthesize and revise all traditions music, poetry, iconography and transform them completely.
Brilliantly conceived and clearly articulated, The Myth of Popular Culture from Dante to Dylan redefines the way in which we think about all forms of artistic expression.
Part I "The Battle of the Brows"
1. A History of High and Low
"Highbrow," "Lowbrow," "Middlebrow"
"Folk" and "Soul"
Dante s Republic
"General Converse": Johnson and the Long Eighteenth Century
"Similitude in Dissimilitude"
Keats and Mediocrity
Culture and Anarchy in the UK
"The Battle of the Brows"
The Myth of Popular Culture
2. Pop Culture in the Spectator
Poems of the People
Canons and "Camp"
Base and Superstructure, Soma and Psyche
3. Pop and Postmodernism
The Social Self
"Hey, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair"
Part II Dialectics of Pop
4. The Death of Kings: American Fiction from Cooper to Chandler
"Paleface" and "Redskin," Cowboy and Dandy
Pathfinding: Cooper and Mark Twain
Labor, Leisure, Love: Melville, James, Hemingway
Transatlantic: Raymond Chandler
5. Knock on Any Door: Three Histories of Hollywood
Ars Gratia Artis
Benjamin, Bazin, Eisenstein
Dialectics of Directing: Hawks, Welles, Scorsese
Dialectics of Acting: Barrymore, Bogart, Brando
Blonde on Blonde: Harlow and Monroe
Hang Em High: Welles, Lewis, Eastwood
6. The Blues Misreading of Gospel: A History of Rock and Roll
A Scandal in Bohemia
Jazz Myth, Jazz Reality
Buddy Holly and the British Invasion
The Body English
Part III The World of Bob Dylan
7. Dylan and the Critics
The Limits of Typology
Dylan as Poet
8. Words and Music
"Slippin and Slidin "
Dylan and Deferred Action
9. Dylan Himself
The Death of the Author
The Grand Tour and the Middle Passage
10. The Three Icons: Sinatra, Presley, Dylan
Iconography and Gender
The Fedora as Phallus
Elvis as Bobbysoxer
"My Darling Young One"