The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy and the American Voice by Greil Marcus
The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy and the American Voice by Greil Marcus, faculty, The New School
Barnesandnoble.com: In this exhilarating and kaleidoscopic investigation of American identity, Greil Marcus traces the nation’s fable of self invention from its earliest Puritan beginnings to its successive re-tellings in the work of diverse contemporary artists. Marcus considers the birth of America as a New Jerusalem, a place of promises so vast that they could only be betrayed—and how from that betrayal emerged the nation’s prophetic voice, the voice that calls America’s citizens to self-judgment. Over the course of our history, Marcus finds that the prophetic voice has sounded less and less in the political realm—where it can be heard in the words of John Winthrop, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr.—and more in the work of individual artists, including Philip Roth, David Lynch, Sinclair Lewis, John Dos Passos, David Thomas of Pere Ubu, Allen Ginsberg, the band Heavens to Betsy, Bill Pullman, and Sheryl Lee.
In The Shape of Things to Come, the past and the present merge in the most extraordinary and surprising ways. Greil Marcus presents a stirring, and frightening, portrait of our country, our ideals, and ourselves.