Call for chapters: Lit-Rock: Literary Capital in Popular Music

Call for Chapter Proposals
Book Title: Lit-Rock: Literary Capital in Popular Music
Editor: J. Ryan Hibbett, Northern Illinois University
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Submission Deadline: May 1, 2019

Book description
This edited collection will explore, across diverse genres of popular music and toward a rich analysis of cultural exchange, the uses of literature and literary practices. Such uses may include literary allusion, the adoption of recognized literary techniques, the adaptation of literary content, the cultivation of poetic personae, or any other use in which the literary makes itself visible and functions as a distinguishing form of capital. When, where, how, and why—this book will ask—does popular music negotiate itself as something “other”? When and how do pop stars present their works as art, and to what extent are they granted or denied the prestige associated with high art traditions? How do listeners negotiate their identities as undiscerning fans/consumers with their roles as discriminating connoisseurs? And, finally, how do artists and fans navigate the contradiction of popularity as external validation and, as is often simultaneously the case, aesthetic inferiority? Amidst such questions, and made timely by Bob Dylan’s (awkwardly received) Nobel Prize and Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer, this study will 1) reveal the use of literary signs, logics, and practices as a phenomenon visible in various ways across the entire pop spectrum, rather than as the exclusive product of an isolated, elite genre within popular music; 2) make apparent literature’s dependency—for meaning, validation, perseverance—on practices often viewed as peripheral; and 3) rethink literature and rock music not as competing representatives of high and low culture, but as an interdependent system mutually invested in, and endlessly regenerating, the high/pop distinction itself.

Within the culturally-oriented approach outlined above, this collection remains open to a diverse range of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives. It is interested in chapters centered on particular artists as well as chapters devoted to historical moments, cultural phenomena, or debates relevant to the lit-rock/high-pop binaries. Potential/sample topics include, but are not limited to:

• Synchronicities: Sting, literature, and Carl Jung
• “Nevermore”: The Alan Parsons Project and Poe
• Beyoncé and the Mass-Culture Avant-Garde
• Nick Cave and the Literary Rock Star
• Lit-Metal: From Iron Maiden to Mastodon
• Pop-star Poets: Jim Morrison to Jewel
• Tupac Shakur as Poet
• Donovan and the Bardic Tradition
• Middlebrow Mediations: Janice Joplin, Woodstock, and the Dick Cavett Show
• Sun Ra as Poet and/or Lecturer
• Kenrick Lamar’s Pulitzer
• Bob Dylan and the Nobel Prize
• Rhymin’ [Paul] Simon: Legitimizing the Lyricist
• In the Airplane over the Sea: Neutral Milk Hotel and Anne Frank
• Taylor Swift and the Harvard Professor: Pop Lyrics under the Academic Gaze

Submission Procedure
Abstracts of approximately 500 words should be emailed to by May 1, 2019.

Project Timeline
May 1st, 2019: Proposals submitted to editor
June 1st, 2019: Notification of acceptance
Jan. 1st, 2020: Completed chapters (7-8-thousand words) submitted for review
Jan. 1st, 2021: Revised/finalized chapters submitted
Aug. 1st, 2021: Finalized manuscript submitted to Bloomsbury

About the Publisher
Bloomsbury Publishing is a leading independent publishing house established in 1986. It has companies in London, New York, Sydney and New Delhi. Its academic division publishes books and digital resources in the humanities, social sciences and visual arts. Imprints include Methuen Drama, the Arden Shakespeare, T&T Clark and Fairchild Books.

J. Ryan Hibbett
Northern Illinois University