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Dr Dimitris Papanikolaou

Thesis abstract

Singing Poets: Popular Music and Literature in France and Greece (1945-1975): Reading Brassens, Ferré, Theodorakis and Savvopoulos.

This thesis is based on a comparative examination of popular music in Greece and France in the 1950s and 1960s. Its central claim is that the concept of the 'singing poet' provided a crucial framing of the field of popular music in both countries and led to a reassessment of the links between literature and popular culture.

Adopting a Cultural Studies approach, the thesis outlines the role played by literary prestige and an idealized view of oral poetry in the conceptualization of high-popular music. It questions the presentation of certain singer-songwriters as 'poets in their own right', as folk poets, auteurs, poet-composers, bards and troubadours.

Books, special editions and articles published in France in the 1960s are extensively examined to reveal their traditionalist consensus about the poetic value of the work of certain Auteurs-Compositeurs-Interprètes. The second part focuses on Greek popular music and reviews how the field of Entehno Laiko (Art-Popular) has been performatively shaped, especially by Mikis Theodorakis's project of 'Sung Poetry'. The resulting cultural divide between 'high' and 'low' popular music spheres is reassessed by examining the 'dislocating' performance of singer-songwriter Dionysis Savvopoulos. Through readings of his songs, performances and interviews, popular music emerges both as the space of a re-constructed utopia and as a subversive 'other' to high cultural forms.

This page last modified 26 September, 2012 by Andrew Pink

Book cover: Muamma

Book cover: Unpacking the collection

imag: book cover, Federica  Mazzara

Discursive Constructions of Identity in European Politics

Singing Poets: Literature and Popular Music in France and Greece (1945-1975)

Northern Constellations: New Readings in Nordic Cinema by Claire Thomson, UCL Mellon Fellow (2004-2006)

Mediating the Nation by Mirca Madianou, UCL Mellon Fellow (2002-2004)


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