Spirituals and the Nationalistic Music of The United States
Alongside the early stages of the development of Western music in the Americas during the late 1800s came the global desire to establish national boundaries; music was one particular area where countries wanted to display their national pride and establish their nationality. The Americas, particularly the United States, was at an awkward stage in the development of its own nationalistic music, as it was not clearly established what “American music” was at this point. Eventually, a composer from Prague alongside the National Conservatory of Music, founded by Jeannette Meyers Thurber, in the United States would help push the majority of the country see that “American music” was to be built off the country’s foundation: the music and rhythms of the indigenous people and African Americans—this American music consists of the African American spirituals that WEB DuBois discussed in The Souls of Black Folk; this post serves to give some more context around the spirituals that emerged from traditional African songs that were passed down from the very first slaves in the U.S.
By the late 19th century, when the United States was trying to establish its own music, European music had already been established in the several countries, making the creation of their nationalistic music simple and original. American music, however, was in its early stages of development, leaving the people of the United States reliant on the more established European classical music (Grout, 2019). The study of music was also extremely dependent on European music; people from the United States started traveling to Europe in order to study music there—after placing European music at the center of music, many people then tried to imitate this music and during the era where national boundaries were rising attempted label it as America’s nationalistic music, in spite of the music that already existed in the United States.Continue reading “Spirituals and the Nationalistic Music of the United States”
While I think there is a benefit to examining specific similarities between Morrison’s Jazz and Dante’s Purgatorio, I also believe that, in order to make more progress on this project, it is important to also see these similarities on a broader level. I’m almost finished with Purgatorio, but now I’ve read enough to be able to see some larger trends that are present in both texts. Through my reading, I’ve found four distinct threads that I feel are important for both Jazz and Purgatorio. These can then be further subdivided and of course are up for debate (and I definitely think my own thoughts would benefit from larger discussions). I thought perhaps this organized list would be the best way to show my thinking:
In my rereading of Jazz, I was intrigued on page 30 when Morrison begins a paragraph with, “They met in Vesper County, Virginia, under a walnut tree.” I knew that Vespers was a type of prayer, and so immediately I marked it in my text, knowing that at least it had somewhat of a (potentially superficial) connection to religion, and therefore potentially Dante.
**I’ll just start with saying that this is definitely going to be one out of a few blog posts I write in the next few days. I’m seeing a lot of connections between the two texts and have just some other thoughts on this whole process/project and I think that my ideas are best understood if they’re separated into different posts, rather than one giant one. So, bear with me if my name pops up here a ton.**
In my last post, I was thinking about the three categories of love that Dante splits Purgatory into: Misdirected Love, Deficient Love, and Excessive Love. I’ve been trying to compare this to how Morrison uses love in Jazz. So last night I became the human “control + F” and scanned through Jazz, trying to find every use of “love.” What I found was that the word love often was described with an adjective; and (get this!) in a book supposedly about “couple love,” according to Morrison’s forward, the word itself was used WAY more in the beginning of the novel. I haven’t quite figured out where I’d place that in terms of connections to how Dante uses love, but I figured I’d share the ways in which Morrison uses the word here:
I figured I’d post this after finishing Jazz now for the second time. Literally like right after. I think I put the book down three minutes ago. There’s a feeling that comes after finishing a novel and if you don’t act on it, it goes away. So I figured maybe I’d try to capture it in a post. (This might be long) Continue reading “Jazz (take two) thoughts”
When presented with the chance to do research on Morrison, and specifically her connections to Dante, I was thrilled; it felt as if I was getting the chance to do real things in terms of literary analysis in a new, more professional atmosphere. But I found myself easily frustrated and overwhelmed because I simply wasn’t sure where to start.
As Erin Herbst‘s and Brianne Briggmann‘s posts indicate, we along with Ron Herzman are taking the first steps towards a collaborative essay exploring how Toni Morrison’s Jazz recapitulates and revises Dante Alighieri’s Purgatorio.
The project is an offshoot of Fall 2016’s Toni Morrison’s Trilogy course where the class concentrated on the relationship between Morrison’s Paradise and Dante’s Paradiso, and we hope to do much of the thinking towards it in public.
I may as well start with the disclaimer that I read this chapter mainly for content, seeing some connections to Jazz and Purgatorio; I think it’s safe to say that mentions of the Great Migrations naturally make my brain think to the concept of movement in both Dante and Morrison’s works. Besides that, however, I can’t say that I have any concrete connections– then again it’s only chapter 1. Continue reading “When Harlem Was In Vogue chapter 1 thoughts”