chapter  1
28 Pages

Introduction: The Music of America

This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The music of America still sounded to me like ideology, but it was ideology in a new key, requiring a blend cognitive and appreciative analysis. It is principle of socialization in United States that discovery of America is converted into a process of self-discovery, whereby America is simultaneously internalized, universalized and naturalized. Kafka's story is a great parable of interpretation as mystification-facts marshalled endlessly to build up contexts whose effect, if not intent, is to conceal or explain away. Politics consisted in a conflict of imaginary options for world revolution, extending from Trotsky's lost cause to the visionary boundaries of anarchism. American Studies seemed to have developed through a reverse strategy of incorporation. The Puritans had discovered America in the Bible; Jacksonians discovered the Bible in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; American Studies added to this Biblia Americana the national literary classics.