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If more academic books were like this we'd all be academically inclined but it would be rare for any of us to be as smart, insightful, creative, generous, and amazing as Kevin Young. You. Read. Now.Here's a partial list of the themes he names and explores:1) Shadow Books.2) Contraband versus Counterfeit.3) Masks, Mistaking the Mask for Real, Appropriating the False Mask.4) Reversals of Meaning.5) Escape to the North, Canaan, Outer-space.6) Is it Better to Be Unread or Misread?7) The Blackness of...
an absolutely brilliant, essential read. just....wow
Stunning. I'd recommend this to everyone based on the first ten percent alone. I have no doubt the rest will be equally brilliant.
After skimming this in a bookstore today, I retrospectively regretted not winning it in that GR giveaway a few months back. A whole chapter on Bob Kaufman!
One of the best cultural histories I've read in years. A book of essays as profound and vibrant as the first time I read Greg Tate's Fly-Boy in the Buttermilk or David Toop's Ocean of Sound or Reginald Shepherd's Orpheus in the Bronx or Albert Goldbarth's Many Circles. Long stretches I had to read out loud just to see how they tasted.
Maybe I’m being disingenuous when I file this under “read,” because, well, I didn’t read all of it. It’s due to the library in a couple of days, and I’m only (literally) halfway through, and I’m struggling to keep reading. Young is intelligent, no doubt, and this is incredible in just how thorough an examination it is, but . . . I’m just not all that interested any more, as bad as that may sound.
Kevin Young chronicles Black artists and how they have shaped USAmerican Culture. "I believe it is Black culture (which is distinct) that transforms American culture (making it more Black and thereby more distinct)....American culture is Black culture --and it is this unique African American culture that in large part makes American culture popular the world over."It is beautifully written. It is a poetic, personal critique of the art and artists of the 20th century. I was introduced to a few ne...
Essays on race, culture, and music. The language is stilted and strange, a style particularly grating on a subject matter that is seemingly so fluid: soul music. It seemed too difficult to get through such a cerebral and obtuse take on material so intrinsically visceral and enjoyable that my reading was patchy and uneven, although a beautiful and insightful passage on the magic of falsetto singing did stand out:You could say that black folks' very yearning is a kind of technology - a conveyance,...
Originally posted at http://postdefiance.com/seven-swans-a..., written by Timothy Thomas McNeely.In The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness, poet Kevin Young goes in search of what it means to be African-American in America, and comes up with an answer that may or may not surprise: African-American culture is American culture; that is, it can be taken as an encompassing example of what it means to be American.Young traces black history in America, noting just how much personal invention –
Hard to summarize. Dense and ambitious cultural criticism focusing on African American culture, with particular attention to counterfeits, masks, variable personae, and truthful lies. There's quite a bit about how African American writers and musicians did modernism and postmodernism before they were named, and how their work and fantasies of black people were appropriated and incorporated into the work of the white writers of the canon. The focus is mostly on African American works and their ce...
I could only get to about page 50 of this book. It's not that the subject matter is not interesting to me, it is that I cannot handle the writing style. It seems very grating toward the subject manner. I also have yet to find a real purpose to what I am reading. If there is theme, either it hasn't been shown yet, or I have lost it in the writing style somewhere. I give it two stars because I am generally a patient person (I can read math textbooks for heaven's sake!) and have so far found this b...
This was a fascinating, energetic, challenging book to read. And well worth it. The author, who as a poet, has a real talent for language - and uses it to open our eyes to the American story - in black and white (in particular). His writing about truth and lies is very powerful. His insights on American history, popular culture, music and poetry are wise and thoughtful. I learned a lot in reading this book - not only about the subject manner - but also about the varieties of ways good writing ma...
The Grey Album: Music, Shadows, Lies was a good read. I found it hard to follow, but by no fault of the author. It was filled with so much information about a subject, that I realize now, I knew little about. Definitely a good read for someone who is more familiar with the literature and music of black Americans. Very well researched piece. I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
Staggering in its comprehensiveness, Young's first collection of essays offers a sprawling consideration of African American literary and musical expression, reading those traditions through deep historical context and astute consideration of their distinct aesthetic qualities. Inventive and satisfying throughout.
I only got about half way through this book. It's very difficult but thought provoking reading. It's just that I am not steeped in all the literature he cites. I did enjoy the parts about jazz though, except when he starts praising Ezra Pound. It is an interesting book, but I couldn't not put it down.
Ultimately interesting look into the history of African American contributions to the arts from the 1800s up to present time, tracing the evolution from "storying" up through hip hop.Not the easiest read, however. You'll be challenged.
Terrible and incomprehensible. Honestly, I could only get 50 pages through because it felt like the author was trying to be so clever that he sounded like a moron. If I could discern the meaning in one or two of his sentences, it might have gone further to give some meaning to the book.
https://wordpress.com/post/30111049/5...I'm not sure I understood it well enough to rate it properly.
The introduction is sprawling and beautiful and poetic (and made me buy the book) but the rest of it reads like lit crit and I don't have time for that right now. Maybe another day!