Dis(Re)memberment Blues

Adah Cussow

in Seems Like Murder Here

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780226310978
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226311005 | DOI:
Dis(Re)memberment Blues

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)


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This chapter explores in detail three novels, an autobiography, and a lyric poem that dramatize the encounter of the black male blues subject with the legacy of spectacle lynching. Roberta Rubenstein addressed the “involuntary separations, violations, and traumatic personal losses” incurred over the course of African American history. Lynching faced the blues subject with a uniquely traumatizing variation on the “ordinary” dialectic of threatened witnessing subject and threatening abject. Lucas Bodeen won redress against lynching by covering the ensouled body of his female lover in Another Good Loving Blues and singing the “good loving” blues song it provokes in him. B. B. King also achieved redress over time with the help of blues music. Larry Neal's poem showed the successful struggle of black male bluesmen to embrace the lynching abject. Blues literature proposes women as heroic models.

Keywords: abject; redress; lynching; Roberta Rubenstein; Lucas Bodeen; Another Good Loving Blues; B. B. King; Larry Neal; blues literature; blues music

Chapter.  17409 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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