FORTHCOMING

“The Challenges of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy”

Raritan: A Quarterly

"A beautifully written, powerful and profound memoir.
It is quite, quite overwhelming. Each sentence rings like crystal."

--Joyce Carol Oates

NEW

"The Feudal Unconscious:
Capitalism and the Family Romance"

October 159 (Winter 2017)
MIT Press




Now Available

Portuguese translation of THE MYTH OF POPULAR CULTURE (Blackwell Manifestos, 2010) now available from Tinta Negra (Rio de Janeiro, 2015)



OS MITOS DA CULTURA POP: DE DANTE A DYLAN

O renomado crítico cultural americano Perry Meisel detona as noções convencionais sobre a divisão entre “alta” e “baixa” cultura.

O autor transita pela provocante teoria de que a cultura pop experimentou ritmos dialéticos. A hábil análise que o livro apresenta de três tradições culturais duradouras – o romance norte-americano, Hollywood, e o rock inglês e americano – nos leva a um ciclo histórico da cultura pop que tem Dante como ponto de partida e revisita ícones como Wahrol, Melville, Hemingway, Twain, Eisenstein, Benjamin, Scorsese e Sinatra.



THE MYTH OF POPULAR CULTURE: FROM DANTE TO DYLAN

The Myth of Popular Culture discusses the dialectic of "highbrow" and "lowbrow" in popular culture through an examination of literature, film, and popular music. With topics ranging from John Keats to John Ford, the book responds to Adorno's theory that popular culture is not dialectical by showing that it is.

Available as eBooks

COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS. Trans. Wade Baskin. Co-ed. with Haun Saussy. By Ferdinand de Saussure (Columbia University Press, 2011)

THE LITERARY FREUD (Routledge, 2007)

THE COWBOY AND THE DANDY: CROSSING OVER FROM ROMANTICISM TO ROCK AND ROLL (Oxford University Press, 1998)

FREUD: A COLLECTION OF CRITICAL ESSAYS (Prentice-Hall, 1981)




4/15/10

Minnie Riperton: Perfect Angel

by Perry Meisel

Minnie Riperton's fine debut album is proof enough that the arrival of a new singer-songwriter on a crowded scene need hardly be another bore. Though Wonderlove arranged the tunes and Stevie himself has added two songs and a lot of back-up work, Minnie's high, breezy voice remains the undisputed center of the sound.
Appetite is the word to describe the cool urgency of Minnie's singing; though it's a fastidious appetite that makes the progress of a tune more like an elaborate meal than the usual subs-and-soda routine one's grown to expect from the pop menu. Rarely are words so perfect a vehicle for vocal improvisation: each phrase receives a special tone, a special accent suited to its place in the lucid wheel of the lyrics. Discrimination abounds, especially between "desire" and what makes Minnie's "spirit higher": a reactionary distinction in one sense, to be sure, but a welcome one in song because it tempers the impulse to throw wet kisses, to seduce with sexual thrill alone (like Sylvia or old Millie Small) and throw musical emotion aside. Sure, Minnie makes you sigh, but she makes you swell too, the way a fine horn solo leaves you rounded and complete.
The settings are hard to define, fluid mixtures of soul and folk, of driving rhythms and pearly ballads. Minnie and Richard Rudolph write real melodies, not riffs masquerading as tunes or offhand phrases sewn together and called songs. Light Wonder grooves like "Edge of a Dream" and "Every Time He Comes Around," which fall midway between the rocking tempo of "Reasons" and the hush of "Lovin' You," are the album's fullest cuts.
The band is perhaps too discreet (with the exception of Marlo Henderson's snappy but repetitive guitar), though Stevie's keyboards and harp are, as always, magnetic.

Originally published in The Boston Phoenix, July 16, 1974