From the East End to Albion: British Self Perception in Literature and Music
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This piece explores a subgenre of British popular music in the first decade of the 21st century, NME indie, and the way in which its lyrics and performances interact with literature to create a particular vision British culture. NME indie’s personal, instrumentally imperfect love songs to England combine literary allusion and everyday anecdotes to concoct a unique image of class and culture in the U.K. This generation of extraordinarily literate British bands creates a chronicle of English history that moves from a past based on the idealized, pastoral vision of England known as “Albion” through a polarizing war era and a dreary present, culminating in a frighteningly dystopian future. NME indie musicians echo a growing trend in Britain; twenty-first century Britons are deeply concerned with perceived cultural degradation as a result of their nationnulls changing place in the world. This music presents a surprisingly conservative vision of a historically based and class-defined “Englishness,” focusing on the production of personally meaningful art to oppose mass culture and define Britain against encroaching globalization.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2010
- F&M Theses Collection