The Life, Music and Thought of Woody Guthrie: A Critical Appraisal

Front Cover
John S. Partington
Routledge, Sep 17, 2016 - Music - 216 pages
Woodrow Wilson Guthrie (1912-67) has had an immense impact on popular culture throughout the world. His folk music brought traditional song from the rural communities of the American southwest to the urban American listener and, through the global influence of American culture, to listeners and musicians alike throughout Europe and the Americas. Similarly, his use of music as a medium of social and political protest has created a new strategy for campaigners in many countries. But Guthrie's music was only one aspect of his multifaceted life. His labour-union activism helped embolden the American working class, and united such distinct groups as the rural poor, the urban proletariat, merchant seamen and military draftees, contributing to the general call for workers' rights during the 1930s and 1940s. As well as penning hundreds of songs (both recorded and unrecorded), Guthrie was also a prolific writer of non-sung prose, writing regularly for the American communist press, producing volumes of autobiographical writings and writing hundreds of letters to family, friends and public figures. Furthermore, beyond music Guthrie also expressed his creative talents through his numerous pen-and-ink sketches, a number of paintings and occasional forays into poetry. This collection provides a rigorous examination of Guthrie's cultural significance and an evaluation of both his contemporary and posthumous impact on American culture and international folk-culture. The volume utilizes the rich resources presented by the Woody Guthrie Foundation.
 

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Contents

Notes on Contributors
Jorge Arévalo Mateus
Woody Guthrie and the New Deal
Resolving the Tension between
Woody Guthrie and the Cultural Front
Woody Guthries Jackhammer John
Woody Guthries War Against
The Figure of the Hobo in the Songs
Constructing Woody Guthries Dust Bowl Legacy
Woody Guthrie aka The guy who wrote This Land Is Your
A Folk Music Friendship
The Performer and the Promoter
Woody Guthrie Bob Dylan and the Role
Bibliography
Index
Copyright

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About the author (2016)

John S. Partington has published five books, including Building Cosmopolis: The Political Thought of H.G. Wells (Ashgate, 2003), H.G. Wells in Nature, 1893-1946: A Reception Reader (2008) and The Reception of H.G. Wells in Europe (2005). His special interest is in political biography, having published on George Orwell, Phoebe Cusden, Lorenzo Quelch, Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi and Clara Zetkin. He is currently researching the reception and influence of Clara Zetkin in Britain.

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