cover of book
 

The Blues Muse: Race, Gender, and Musical Celebrity in American Poetry
by Emily Ruth Rutter
University of Alabama Press, 2018
eISBN: 978-0-8173-9197-3 | Paper: 978-0-8173-5994-2 | Cloth: 978-0-8173-1994-6
Library of Congress Classification PS153.N5R89 2018
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.009896073

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
A critical analysis of the poetic representations and legacies of five landmark blues artists
 
The Blues Muse: Race, Gender, and Musical Celebrity in American Poetry focuses on five key blues musicians and singers—Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Robert Johnson, and Lead Belly—and traces the ways in which these artists and their personas have been invoked and developed throughout American poetry. This study spans nearly one hundred years of literary and musical history, from the New Negro Renaissance to the present.

Emily Ruth Rutter not only examines blues musicians as literary touchstones or poetic devices, but also investigates the relationship between poetic constructions of blues icons and shifting discourses of race and gender. Rutter’s nuanced analysis is clear, compelling, and rich in critical assessments of these writers’ portraits of the musical artists, attending to their strategies and oversights.
 
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