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Anthem Quality (PB)
National Songs: A Theoretical Study
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Price £28, $40
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ISBN 9781783204724
Second Edition
Paperback 204 pages
230 x 170
Published January 2015
Imprint: Intellect
Chapter Titles     |      Comments
Anthem Quality is a book about the lyrics of national anthems. In this theoretical survey, Christopher Kelen deals with the general meaning of an international social phenomenon – the words we sing together with our compatriots when we assert ourselves to be national subjects. Like all social phenomena, the singing of an anthem is an event with a context. The persistence of an anthem, the changing of an anthem, the meaning of an anthem – these things have a subjective basis disclosed through contextual reading. In these pages, Kelen historicizes for us some of the
world’s best-known national anthems, including ‘The Marseillaise’, ‘The Star Spangled Banner’, and ‘God Save the Queen’ and considers how these and lesser known anthems deal with such life-and-death topics as authority, religion, love and devotion. If anthems are anaesthetic, they are paradoxically stirring; if anthems are the muzak of nation, they are a participatory muzak. This book investigates an icon the devout typically refuse to admit that they are worshipping.
 
Christopher Kelen is professor in the English Department at the University of Macau, China.
 
 
Chapter titles
The Loyal Toast – A Personal Introduction
Chapter 1: Identification of the National Subject: The idea of the anthem in the world today
Chapter 2: The Official Poem of the People: Anthems, their contexts and their common characteristics
Chaper 3: The Classification of Anthems: Genre and speech act
Chapter 4: Anthem Quality: Its Paradoxes and Parodies: The uniformity of differences and the automatisation of strong affect
Chapter 5: Choosing and Chosen: The overt and covert us and them of national devotions
Chapter 6: Anthems for a Better World: cosmopolitan and postcolonial hymns
Conclusion: The Soul and Its Un/Official Stirrings
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