All That Jazz: African American Literature and Music, Origins through the 1950S
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This course examines fiction writing, memoir, poetry, and film that usefully encounters African American writings on jazz music in conversation with the recordings of selected jazz musicians. Beginning with writers who explore the late 19th experience of urban black musical cultures roughly designated “ragtime,” the course will offer a deep engagement with the representations of the “blues” and “swing” music of the long New Negro Movement between 1915 and 1940. The final section of the course considers the post-war novelists and memoirists who charted the emergence of the “Be bop” jazz musician as tragic hero, countermanding New Negro representations of jazz musician and vocalist as entertainers par excellence.
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