The Cowboy and the Dandy: Crossing over from Romanticism to Rock and Roll


What is rock and roll and where does it come from? In this new study of music, literature, and culture, Perry Meisel shows how rock and roll joins both Romanticism and the blues tradition by testing the boundaries they share: boundaries between freedom and irony, between country and city, between the iconic figures of cowboy (e.g. John Wayne) and dandy (e.g. Oscar Wilde). In a series of startling juxtapositions, Meisel looks at rhythm and blues, Emerson and the cowboy, urban blues, the dandy and 60's psychedelia, Willa Cather, Miles Davis, and Virginia Woolf. In the process, Meisel shows how "popular" and "high" culture are hardly fixed categories, and in fact share deep roots each vainly affects to disdain.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1999


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