Volume Editors: Norbert Bachleitner and Juliane Werner
Popular Music and the Poetics of Self in Fiction explores the various links between the self and popular music in contemporary fiction. In the novels discussed in this volume, musical references go far beyond creating a tapestry of sound, they make literary characters come alive by giving an account of the physiological and psychological effects of their musical experiences and of their ways of life in different (sub)cultural and social groups. With plots revolving around songs and albums, musicians and bands, and fans and scenes, the thematic focus on the self encompasses the relation of musical taste and identity construction, popular music’s function as a medium of individual and collective memory, and its uses in everyday life across decades, spaces, and genres.

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Norbert Bachleitner is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Vienna, Austria. His fields of interest include the reception of English and French literature in the German speaking area, literary translation and transfer studies, the social history of literature, censorship, literature in periodicals, intertextuality, and digital literature. His most recent book publication is Die literarische Zensur in Österreich von 1751 bis 1848 (2017).

Juliane Werner, Ph.D., is a member of the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Vienna, Austria. Her teaching and research focuses on transcultural exchanges (Austria, France, USA), philosophical fiction, literature and psychiatry, word and music studies, and literary animal studies. She is the author of Thomas Bernhard und Jean-Paul Sartre (2016) and Existentialismus in Österreich. Kultureller Transfer und literarische Resonanz (2021).

Notes on Contributors

1 Popular Music and the Poetics of Self in Fiction
   Juliane Werner, Norbert Bachleitner

part 1
Popular Music Styles, Taste, and (Fan) Identities
2 On the End(s) of Identity Pop Music and the Fictional Self
   Claus-Ulrich Viol

3 The Three Ages of Fan Identity, Irony, and Post-Postmodernism in Roddy Doyle’s Popular Music Narratives
   Jeffrey Roessner

4 Shaman or Messiah? The Record Seller as a Higher Being in Virginie Despentes’s Vernon Subutex
   Diedrich Diederichsen

5 Changing Infrastructures of Musical Taste Formation?
   Jonathan Kropf

6 ‘Popularity is a game’ Music, Identity, and the Popular in Tom Cho’s Look Who’s Morphing
   Thomas Gurke

part 2
Cultural Contexts, Memoryscapes, and the Biographical Self
7 Montreal Bohemia and the Mile End Apartment Party Scene
   Will Straw

8 Appropriations in Pop Cultural Appropriation, Gentrification, and Retromania in Jonathan Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude , Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue, and Paul Beatty’s Slumberland
   Simon Nagy

9 A New Male Middle-Class Self? Rock Music in Norwegian Novels, 1966–1984
   Klaus Nathaus

10 Music, Media, and Memories in Serhiy Zhadan’s Voroshilovgrad
   Hannah Schroder

11 An Alternative Jazz Biography Ronald Pohl’s Kind aus Blau
   Norbert Bachleitner

12 Musical Self-Remembrance in Contemporary Literature Reflections on Friedrich Christian Delius’s Die Zukunft der Schönheit
   Nicola Gess

part 3
Intermedial Encounters, the Poetics of Pop, and Musician(s’) Fiction
13 How to Create a Unique Atmosphere in Fiction and Recorded Music Frank Witzel and The Beatles
   Peter Apfl

14 Intermedial Resonances and Narrative Dissonances in Steve Earle’s Music and Literature
   Daniel Stein

15 Fictitious Musicians – Fictitious Music?
   Daniel Syrovy

16 Fictional Transfigurations of Bob Dylan, or Writing the Unknowable
   Juliane Werner

17 To Believe in Neil Young His Music, Navid Kermani, the Prophet, and Søren Kierkegaard
   Stefan Kutzenberger

18 Reading as Listening – Listening as Reading Rock Novels from My Bookshelf
   Simon Frith


Students and researchers in Word and Music Studies, German Studies, English and American Studies, Comparative Literature, Musicology, Sociology, readers of contemporary fiction, pop music fans.