We study oral/aural traditions, songs of yesteryear that we now only see written on a page in a dusty book. We discuss the implications of form, presentation and lyrics; point out the poetic techniques; guess at harmonies and melodies we assume may have been used. Hell, we even recreate the performances we think might have been given.
Where is the acknowledgement of 20th Century song lyrics? Just because we’ve commercialised the medium doesn’t for one second mean that it’s any less worth studying the development of as a means of artistic expression.
And I’m not talking abut a musical engineering study of the creation of a record, I’m not talking about the Social Political and Economic study that could be done into the music industry, I’m not talking about a Women’s Studies study into the sexism flaunted by the industry.
I want a true and proper Literature-based study. Not linguistics, literature. Our close reading, our historical context, our historicism and postmodernism, feminism and marxism, thing theory and philology, aurality and myth-making.
I want literature based studies like we would do on anything else. You want to study the chanson de geste, be my guest; I want to study the music lyrics of today and what they explore.
I have the same problem with blog posts, why aren’t we studying this phenomenon in undergrad, not even mentioning it? I assume linguistic studies are being done on them because linguistics seem to be a lot more current than musty old literature. And yes, I believe blog posts will be (one day) and should be included under the term literature. To me they represent the modern day pamphlet, which we learnt about on the Early Renaissance module, how pamphlets were being used for ideological wars and such- is it not true that blog posts are a modern equivalent? Why should we not be tracing this phenomenon which, although being quite young, has already more material to be studying and making claims about.
My own claim would be that tumblr. (specifically) is a modern attempt at Écriture féminine [Hélène Cixous among others], the writing through body and self, the never-ending, the infinite, the reclamation. But who knows when I’m actually going to be allowed to write on such things under the term ‘English Literature’, or tbh at this point ‘World Literature’.
[Soundtrack: A is for Accident (Album) by The Dresden Dolls]