While much has been written about the sociological significance of the blues, this is a unique inquiry into the blues and the mind, a study of the blues as thought. Here, the subconscious power of the blues is examined from a poetic and psychological perspective, illuminating the blues’ deepest creative sources and exploring its far-reaching influence and appeal.
Like Surrealist poetry in particular, blues communicate through highly charged symbols of aggression and desire—eros, crime, magic, night, and drugs, among others. A close analysis of classic blues lyrics, along with a wealth of source material from Freud and James Frazer, to Breton and Marcuse, conveys the blues’ major poetic function of spiritual revolt against repression.
First published in 1975, Blues and the Poetic Spirit is a blues literature classic. This long-awaited new edition assesses developments in the blues since that time and outlines the social and political forces that continue to shape its evolution.
"Paul Garon's study of the blues represents a new and important approach to the analysis of the blues as a psychopoetic phenomenon … this work is an important starting place for researchers who want to investigate the essence of the blues."—Samuel Floyd
"Absolutely the best book on the blues."—Robin D.G. Kelley
Paul Garon has written about the blues for nearly fifty years. A co-founder of Living Blues, he is also the author of The Devil's Son-in-Law: The Story of Peetie Wheatstraw and His Songs, Blues and the Poetic Spirit and What's the Use of Walking if a Freight Train's Going Your Way, as well as a small collection of prose poems, Rana Mozelle. He and his wife, co-author Beth Garon, own and operate Beasley Books, a used and rare book business in Chicago.