Mythologist in Microgroove 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, from the late 1960s to the mid 1980s. The Italian cantautore, Fabrizio De André, is the productive lens of the book, as it considers the myths of the medieval hanged man, the cowboy, Jesus of Nazareth, and Fiddler Jones. Across four chapters, the author engages the contemporary cultural context and events 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, and Edgar Lee Masters with that of De André to propose a new perspective on the countercultural years. 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 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