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 Who Johnny Cash; Leigh H. Edwards
 What Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity
 When July 14, 2009
 Where Bloomington, IN
 Source Indiana University Press

Throughout his career, Johnny Cash was depicted, and depicted himself, as a walking contradiction-social protestor and establishment patriot, drugged wildman and devout Christian crusader, rebel outlaw and elder statesman. Author Leigh H. Edwards investigates the allure of this incongruous image and its cultural significance, asserting that Cash embodied irresolvable contradictions of American identity that reflect foundational issues in the American experience: the tensions between freedom and patriotism, individual rights and nationalism, the sacred and the profane. Edwards illustrates how this model of ambivalence is a vital paradigm for American popular music and American identity as well.

In Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity, Edwards focuses on Cash's media image and the ideologies and social critiques within his work. Utilizing sources such as Cash's autobiographies, lyrics, music, liner notes, and interviews, Edwards also pays equal attention to depictions of the artist by others. Vivian Cash's publication of his letters to her, documentaries and music journalism about him, Walk the Line, and fan club materials found in the archives at the Country Music Foundation in Nashville help to complete this captivating portrait of an American legend and icon.

Leigh H. Edwards is Associate Professor of English at Florida State University. She lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

Indiana University Press


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