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The Poetics of American Song Lyrics$
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Charlotte Pence

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781617031564

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617031564.001.0001

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It Don’t Mean a Thing: The Blues Mask of Modernism

It Don’t Mean a Thing: The Blues Mask of Modernism

(p.43) It Don’t Mean a Thing: The Blues Mask of Modernism
The Poetics of American Song Lyrics

Kevin Young

University Press of Mississippi

The rise of modernism coincided with the emergence and reach of the blues. This chapter explores the influence of blues music on modernism, focusing on the importance, intricacies, and intimacies of Harlem or New Negro Renaissance. It argues that the achievement of African American writers (and sculptors and artists) should be considered one of the heights of modernism. The chapter also comments on the recent disregard heaped upon the notion of Africa as a popular theme in the Harlem Renaissance and how this attitude denies the power of place in the black imagination.

Keywords:   modernism, blues, New Negro Renaissance, African American writers, Africa, Harlem Renaissance, place

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