Elvis After Elvis: The Posthumous Career of a Living Legend

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9780415110037: Elvis After Elvis: The Posthumous Career of a Living Legend

'For a dead man, Elvis Presley is awfully noisy. His body may have failed him in 1977, but today his spirit, his image, and his myths do more than live on: they flourish, they thrive, they multiply.'
Why is Elvis Presley so ubiquitous a presence in US culture? Why does he continue to enjoy a cultural prominence that would be the envy of the most heavily publicized living celebrities?
In Elvis after Elvis Gil Rodman traces the myriad manifestations of The King in popular and not-so-popular culture. He asks why Elvis continues to defy our expectations of how dead stars are supposed to behave: Elvis not only refuses to go away, he keeps showing up in places where he seemingly doesn't belong.
Rodman draws upon an extensive and eclectic body of Elvis 'sightings', from Elvis's appearances at the heart of the 1992 Presidential campaign to the debate over his worthiness as a subject for a postage stamp, and from Elvis's central role in furious debates about racism and the appropriation of African-American music to the world of Elvis impersonators and the importance of Graceland as a place of pilgrimage for Elvis fans and followers.
Rodman shows how Elvis has become inseparable from many of the defining myths of US culture, enmeshed with the American dream and the very idea of the 'United States', caught up in debates about race, gender and sexuality and in the wars over what constitutes a national culture.

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Review:

Elvis is not about music. Nor is Elvis simply about fame. Nor can we explain what makes Elvis special by the avidity of his fans, the charm of his films, his devilish good looks, or his gyrating hips. None of this is sufficient to exhaust the richness that is the phenomenon of Elvis 20 years after his death. Gilbert Rodman looks at the posthumous career of this redneck holy man in order to shed light on the myths by which American culture survives. This is not your typical fan book, but neither is it a dry academic exercise. Rather, it is a twisting, unpredictable analysis and narrative that shows how an American religion came to find its prophet in a slick-haired country boy from Tupelo.

From the Back Cover:

Why is Elvis Presley so ubiquitous a presence in US culture? Why does he continue to enjoy a cultural prominence that would be the envy of the most heavily publicized living celebrities? In Elvis after Elvis, Gilbert Rodman traces Elvis Presley's myriad manifestations in contemporary popular and not-so-popular culture. He asks why Elvis continues to defy our expectations of how dead stars are supposed to behave: Elvis not only refuses to go away, he keeps showing up in places where he seemingly does not belong. Rodman draws upon an extensive and eclectic body of Elvis "sightings", from Elvis's appearances at the heart of the 1992 presidential campaign to the debate over his worthiness as a subject for a postage stamp, and from Elvis's central role in furious debates about racism and the appropriation of African-American music to the world of Elvis impersonators and the importance of Graceland as a place of pilgrimage for Elvis fans and followers. Rodman shows how Elvis has become inseparable from many of the defining myths of US culture, enmeshed with the American Dream and the very idea of the "United States", caught up in debates about race, gender, and sexuality, and in the wars over what constitutes a national culture.

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Gilbert B. Rodman
Published by Routledge (1996)
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Gilbert B. Rodman
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Rodman, Gilbert B.
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