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"How Does It Feel?": Rock Music in American Fiction Writing, 1961-2011

Author Martin Moling
Director of thesis Prof. Thomas Austenfeld
Co-director of thesis
Summary of thesis I analyse American novels and short stories with a view to the rock music that informs them. The emergence of rock 'n' roll music coincides with the beginning of postmodernism in the mid-1950s. I intend to negotiate the ways in which rock is steeped in postmodern simulation, and may simultaneously serve as a means to oppose it. The question if rock music, ultimately, is able to empower individuals (or characters in fictional texts) in their struggle against postmodern inauthenticity, or if it merely lures us (and them) further into the seriality of commodity consumerism takes center stage. Another aspect of rock music's "dual nature" refers to it largely being a male-dominated cultural form, which tends to confirm traditional if not reactionary positions. On the other hand, rock music's African roots - the syncopated rhythms and their connection to dance, the body and, by extension, the irrational spheres - suggest that it may be used as a subversive means to oppose the dominant culture of Western Enlightenment philosophy. Finally, I shall juxtapose rock's potential and pretense with the crucial characteristics of literature in order to arrive at a more general claim regarding the two art forms - if that is what they are.
Administrative delay for the defence