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1968: Mythology matters

Hill, Sarah ORCID: 2019. 1968: Mythology matters. Twentieth-Century Music 16 (1) , pp. 165-168. 10.1017/S147857221900015X

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We are now reaching the last flurry of half-century commemorations of the 1960s. What is striking in these backwards glances – most recently, fifty years since 1967’s Summer of Love, and fifty years since ‘1968’ – is the truncation of events, the conflation of ideas, the simplification of meaning. Years and eras are impossible to encapsulate in sound bites or longer narratives of public memorialization, so music often serves as a convenient shorthand; yet popular songs of 1967 and 1968 only occasionally spoke to contemporary events, and more often skated over the surface of deep cultural rifts and political upheaval. What we now retain is a sort of shared mythology – 1967 was peaceful, 1968 was violent – that complicates our ability to see the past in the present. As I aim to show here, the 1960s continue to resonate today in ways that force us to confront history, for as William Faulkner wrote, ‘the past is never dead. It's not even past.’

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Music
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP)
ISSN: 1478-5722
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2023 02:31

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