In Mythologist in Microgroove: A Study of Italian Myths and Cultural Shifts with Fabrizio De André on Lead Vocals, author Julianne VanWagenen investigates the ways in which popular music, as well as other popular genres, engaged with and critiqued modern myth during years of cultural and political upheaval in Italy, from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s. The Italian singer-songwriter, Fabrizio De André, is the productive lens of the book, as it considers the myths of the hanged man and the scaffold, the cowboy, Jesus of Nazareth, and Edgar Lee Masters’s Fiddler Jones. Across four chapters, VanWagenen engages contemporary events and cultural contexts in Italy, as well as abroad, and interprets them through the lens of popular cultural productions. She weaves the voices of Bob Dylan, Francesco De Gregori, Francesco Guccini, Dario Fo, Edgar Lee Masters, among others, with that of De André to propose a new perspective on the countercultural years. Across the study, De André’s music arises as singularly profound and persistent in its critique of elements of western culture that have guided its trajectory since the late medieval period.
Julianne VanWagenen, PhD, is an independent scholar.
Introduction - Faber: ‘The Poet Shall Once Again Be a Maker’
Chapter 1 - Civilizing the Scaffold: A History of Punishment, Control, and Spectacle
Chapter 2 - Italian Cowboy Songs: The Wild West in the Countercultural Imagination
Chapter 3 - Countercultural Christs: De André’s and Fo’s Enchanted Modernity
Chapter 4 - Masters vs. Lee Masters: Spoon River and Fiddler Jones in Translation