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Seems Like Murder HereSouthern Violence and the Blues Tradition$
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Adam Gussow

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780226310978

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226311005.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Seems Like Murder Here

Adah Cussow

University of Chicago Press

This chapter introduces the blues tradition. It begins in the South of the 1890s because blues music began to emerge as a folk form during that decade, coalescing out of a welter of extant black music but extending them all in the direction of pained, restless, sometimes euphoric subjectivity. Lynching has recently emerged as a vital subject within the larger field of blues literature. The intimate violence of blues culture could be rage-filled. An overview of the chapters included in this book is given. The first four chapters are concerned almost entirely with interracial violence as it registers in the blues textual tradition: white disciplinary violence against black folk, black resistance and reprisal against white folk. The last two chapters address violence, one traditionally associated with blues music and blues culture: the knives, razors, “chibs,” ice picks, and guns that have taken the lives of a number of blues musicians.

Keywords:   blues music, South, black music, lynching, intimate violence, blues culture, interracial violence, blues musicians

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