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Torch Singing: Performing Resistance and Desire from Billie Holiday to Edith Piaf - Ethnographic Alternatives (Paperback)
  • Torch Singing: Performing Resistance and Desire from Billie Holiday to Edith Piaf - Ethnographic Alternatives (Paperback)
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Torch Singing: Performing Resistance and Desire from Billie Holiday to Edith Piaf - Ethnographic Alternatives (Paperback)

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£24.95
Paperback 228 Pages / Published: 28/06/2007
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In this innovative book, Stacy Holman Jones presents torch singing as a much more complicated phenomenon than the familiar trope of a woman lamenting her victimhood. With an ethnographer's eye, she observes the bluesy torch singers, asking if they are possibly performing critiques of the very lyrics they sing. From this perspective, we see the singer giving expression not not only to desire but also to an incipient determination to resist and change. Holman Jones also reveals points of contact in the opposition between spectators and performers, emotion and intellect, and love and power. Instead of interpreting the expression of love as a woman's violent mistake-as willing deception and passive fate-Holman Jones allows us to hear an active search for hope.

Publisher: AltaMira Press,U.S.
ISBN: 9780759106598
Number of pages: 228
Weight: 367 g
Dimensions: 230 x 153 x 15 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This is a powerful, richly nuanced, evocative work; a stunning and brilliantly innovative pedagogical intervention. It provides ground zero-the starting place for the next generation of performance scholars who study desire, intimacy, the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, torch singers, love's wounds, healing and hearing new musical sounds, lyrics for torching, new ways of writing and breathing our selves into being. -- Norman K. Denzin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Torch Singing is as lyrical and inviting as the songs that Stacy Holman Jones takes as her subject. The text itself is like a torch song, calling out for a response from the reader/listener. Moving among autobiography, critical ethnography, musicaland performance analysis, and music history (especially of the blues and Tin Pan Alley), this book is self-conscious and self-reflexive politically, intellectually, and methodologically. Holman Jones is deeply conversant with feminist theory, critical ethnography, performance theory, and the history of popular music, and her writing calls up the singers and songs with acuity and evocative detail. Holman Jones also performs herself in the text and foregrounds the process of research and scholarship, the affective, desirous nature of fandom, and the political exigencies of feminism to re-examine this music and these singers. This is a fascinating study of the history of torch songs and divas, including Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Barbra Streisand, and k.d. lang, as well as many other singers whom the author saw perform and often interviewed. Torch Singing documents and celebrates the form of ?singers of suffering? as a resistant, pleasurable, political, feminist performance practice. A -- Stacy Wolf, Associate Professor, Performance as Public Practice Program, Department of Theatre and Dance, University of Texas at Austin, an
This book is a virtuoso performance of the desiring self shaped by the contexts and lyrics of others-some real, some hauntingly remembered, and some fully imagined-through a voice every bit as soulful, ironic, sexy, and full of longing as the torch singers she brings to life. Greil Marcus says somewhere that the only books about music worth reading are those that make the experience of listening to the music better. Stacy Holman Jones does that in this remarkably sensuous little volume, so full of deep personal knowledge of women who are called to torch singing and called by it, so rich in historical and critical resources, and ultimately so deliciously feverish to the ear. -- H.L. (Bud) Goodall, Professor and Head of the Hugh Downs School of Communication at Arizona State University
Torch Singing is as lyrical and inviting as the songs that Stacy Holman Jones takes as her subject. The text itself is like a torch song, calling out for a response from the reader/listener. Moving among autobiography, critical ethnography, musical and performance analysis, and music history (especially of the blues and Tin Pan Alley), this book is self-conscious and self-reflexive politically, intellectually, and methodologically. Holman Jones is deeply conversant with feminist theory, critical ethnography, performance theory, and the history of popular music, and her writing calls up the singers and songs with acuity and evocative detail. Holman Jones also performs herself in the text and foregrounds the process of research and scholarship, the affective, desirous nature of fandom, and the political exigencies of feminism to re-examine this music and these singers. This is a fascinating study of the history of torch songs and divas, including Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Barbra Streisand, and k.d. lang, as well as many other singers whom the author saw perform and often interviewed. Torch Singing documents and celebrates the form of "singers of suffering" as a resistant, pleasurable, political, feminist performance practice. A beautiful, engaging song of a book. -- Stacy Wolf, Associate Professor, Performance as Public Practice Program, Department of Theatre and Dance, University of Texas at Austin, and

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