Ain't It Hard?: Suffering and Hope in the Blues

Thursday, 03 May 2007

The reason this is important is that the Bible never pretends that evil and suffering are easy. But it gives them meaning.
In a famous review of Richard Wright's Black Boy in 1945, Ralph Ellison eloquently describes the blues as a form: The blues is an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one's aching consciousness, to finger its jagged grain, and to transcend it, not by the consolation of philosophy but by squeezing from it a near-tragic, near comic lyricism. As a form, the blues is an autobiographical chronicle of personal catastrophe expressed lyrically. We should add that the blues is a performance. The &...

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