Dolly Parton, Gender, and Country Music
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219 pages

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2017 Foreword INDIES Gold in Performing Arts & Music

Dolly Parton is instantly recognizable for her iconic style and persona, but how did she create her enduring image? Dolly crafted her exaggerated appearance and stage personality by combining two opposing stereotypes—the innocent mountain girl and the voluptuous sex symbol. Emerging through her lyrics, personal stories, stage presence, and visual imagery, these wildly different gender tropes form a central part of Dolly's media image and portrayal of herself as a star and celebrity. By developing a multilayered image and persona, Dolly both critiques representations of femininity in country music and attracts a diverse fan base ranging from country and pop music fans to feminists and gay rights advocates. In Dolly Parton, Gender, and Country Music, Leigh H. Edwards explores Dolly's roles as musician, actor, author, philanthropist, and entrepreneur to show how Dolly's gender subversion highlights the challenges that can be found even in the most seemingly traditional form of American popular music. As Dolly depicts herself as simultaneously "real" and "fake," she offers new perspectives on country music's claims of authenticity.

Introduction: Dolly Mythology
1. "Backwoods Barbie": Dolly Parton's Gender Performance
2. My Tennessee Mountain Home: Early Parton and Authenticity Narratives
3. Parton's Crossover and Film Stardom: The "Hillbilly Mae West"
4. Hungry Again: Reclaiming Country Authenticity Narratives
5. "Digital Dolly" and New Media Fandoms
Conclusion: Brand Evolution and Dollywood
Works Cited



Publié par
Date de parution 06 janvier 2018
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253034205
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.



Leigh H. Edwards
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
2018 by Leigh H. Edwards
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The Association of American University Presses Resolution on Permissions constitutes the only exception to this prohibition.
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Edwards, Leigh H., author.
Title: Dolly Parton, gender, and country music / Leigh H. Edwards.
Description: Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 2018. | Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2017024199 (print) | LCCN 2017025461 (ebook) | ISBN
9780253031563 (e-book) | ISBN 9780253031549 (cloth : alk. paper) | ISBN
9780253031556 (pbk. : alk. paper)
Subjects: LCSH: Parton, Dolly. | Women country musicians-United States.
Classification: LCC ML420.P28 (ebook) | LCC ML420.P28 E39 2018 (print) | DDC
LC record available at
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for my family
Dolly Mythology
1 Backwoods Barbie
Dolly Parton s Gender Performance
2 My Tennessee Mountain Home
Early Parton and Authenticity Narratives
3 Parton s Crossover and Film Stardom
The Hillbilly Mae West
4 Hungry Again
Reclaiming Country Authenticity Narratives
5 Digital Dolly and New Media Fandoms
Brand Evolution and Dollywood
Selected Bibliography
During the course of writing this book, I have had the good company of fellow travelers who believe, like me, that popular music has something important to tell us. My work on this book started with my earlier one in this field, Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity (Indiana University Press, 2009). Many thanks to everyone at Indiana University Press for that book and this one, especially Janice Frisch, Kate Schramm, Raina Polivka, Jane Behnken, and the readers.
On my pilgrimages to Nashville, everyone at the Country Music Foundation archives at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum was extremely gracious and helpful, particularly historian John Rumble. Don Cusic, James Akenson, and everyone at the International Country Music Conference (ICMC) provided a wonderful community.
I want to thank especially the intrepid Kris McCusker for her helpful feedback and careful reading of my work. I was honored to have a portion of chapter 1 appear in article form in the edited collection Country Boys and Redneck Women: New Essays in Gender and Country Music (University Press of Mississippi, 2016), edited by Diane Pecknold and Kris McCusker. I am grateful to the kind and generous editors, the other essayists, and the fabulous panel of authors at the ICMC for their feedback and lively discussion. That collection is a sequel to their earlier one, A Boy Named Sue: Gender and Country Music (University Press of Mississippi, 2004), which was a trailblazing volume that inspired me and so many others in the field.
A small portion of my work here appeared in my article Country Music and Class, in The Oxford Handbook of Country Music (Oxford University Press, 2017), edited by Travis Stimeling. I want to thank him for his skilled editing and generous community building. A portion appeared in my article in the Journal of Popular Music Studies , Johnny Cash s Ain t No Grave and Digital Folk Culture (June 2016). My appreciation to the editors and readers there as well. Some of my Parton research appeared previously in my article Mass Art: Digital Folk Culture and Country Music as Folk Mass Culture, in Pop Culture Universe: Icons, Idols, Ideas (ABC-CLIO, 2013). My earlier book on television, The Triumph of Reality TV: The Revolution in American Television (Praeger, 2013), has also informed some of this project, and I wish to thank those press editors and readers as well.
My thanks to colleagues at conferences where I have presented this research, including the American Studies Association, the Popular Culture Association, and the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, US branch. I am grateful to colleagues at IASPM-US for their encouragement, particularly the late David Sanjek.
I am very appreciative of the early training I received in American literary and cultural studies from my PhD committee in English at the University of Pennsylvania, Betsy Erkkila (now at Northwestern), Nancy Bentley, Christopher Looby (now at UCLA), and Eric Cheyfitz (now at Cornell), as well as from others at Penn, such as Peter Stallybrass and Herman Beavers. I am also grateful for my undergraduate training in English at Duke University, where I benefited from being an editorial assistant at American Literature under Cathy Davidson and from studying with Toril Moi, Annabel Patterson, Tom Ferraro, and Deborah Pope.
I wish to thank my colleagues in the English department at Florida State University (FSU). Special thanks to Andrew Epstein, Darryl Dickson-Carr (now at SMU), and Meegan Kennedy for being exemplary colleagues and friends, and to Meegan for her chapter feedback. A special thank you to Denise Von Glahn and Michael Broyles, musicology colleagues at FSU, who have been extremely supportive of this research from the beginning and who have been very generous in their feedback. Many thanks to the FSU colleagues (past and present) who discussed my research on this topic with me, including Barbara Hamby, David Kirby, Jerrilyn McGregory, Candace Ward, Nancy Warren, Ned Stuckey-French, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, Jimmy Kimbrell, Robert Olen Butler, Mark Winegardner, Bonnie Braendlin, Paul Outka, Chris Shinn, Anne Rowe, Rip Lhamon, Eric Walker, Elaine Treharne, David Vann, Kathi Yancey, Alisha Gaines, Aaron Jaffe, Christina Parker-Flynn, and many others. My FSU students in my media studies and popular culture classes have been enthusiastic about this case study, which lent me more motivation.
My appreciation to my friend and colleague Katie Conrad, talented both as a scholar and as a mandolin player, for bluegrass discussions, and to my bluegrass guitar teacher, Mickey Abraham. I wish to thank colleagues and friends who have lent their support and happily talked with me about the music or my project, including Vall Richard, Jennifer Proffitt, Bob Batchelor and the popular culture crew, James Mitchell, Gretchen Sunderman, Pam Coats, Giselle Anatol, Michael Todd, Vickie Lake, Maria Fernandez, Monica Hurdal, Diana Rice, Jack Clifford, Bev Bower, Fayanne Farabee, Susan Teel, Charlotte Curtis, Janie Curtis, Ann Duran, Cindy Michaelson, Rosanne Barker, Rita May, Warren May, Lynn Priestley, Margaret Clark, Tom Clark, Ken Johnson, and Jennifer Smith.
Warm thanks to family and friends who went to concerts with me, ranging from Dolly Parton to Rosanne Cash to Kris Kristofferson, including my cousin Allison Carothers and her daughters, Brittney Carothers Harvey and JuliaAnne Carothers Harvey; my cousin Theresa Loper; honorary cousin Karen Campbell Frank; Pam Flynn; Feli Wilhelmy; Tatiana Flores; Lori DiGuglielmo and Karen Barnett for concerts and Dollywood; and the Duke TIP crew for adventures to concerts and to Dollywood: Mary Souther, Mitch Rolnick, Lynn Gieger, Pasha Souvorin, Denise Messer, and David Messer.
I want to thank in particular my dear Chris Goff, Brian Ammons, and Patricia Thomas for their steadfast support; surprise trips to Nashville; adventures to conferences, concerts, and Dollywood; and helpful perspectives and pop culture joyousness.
I dedicate this book to my parents, the late Steve Edwards Jr. and the late Helen Carothers Edwards; they believed in this project and they believed in me, and I can only hope to emulate their integrity, grace, and good cheer. As I am an eighth-generation Floridian from Tallahassee, I had the pleasure of asking my father about his grandfather who was a country fiddler; about southern rural music growing up in Quincy, Florida; and about his brother Ryan Edwards playing piano on an old Jimmy Dean record. My deep thanks and love to my mother; to my sister, Ashley Carothers Edwards; and to my sister-in-law, Kim Hinckley, as well for their support, encouragement, and willingness to listen to still more songs.
I also wish to honor my extended family, including those who have gone before us, from my grandfather Milton Washington Carothers, who passed on a love of education and who makes me, following my father, the third generation of my immediate family to be a professor at FSU, to the youngest ones coming along now. They include Milton Washington Carothers, Julia Stover Carothers, Charles Graham Carothers, NancyAnne Carothers, Charles Graham Carothers Jr., Allison Carothers and her family, Brittney Carothers Harvey, JuliaAnne Carothers Harvey, Melissa Anne Carothers Moon and her family, Milton Stover Carothers, Sarah Jane Carothers, Milton Washington Carothers II, Irene Ryan, Harley Ryan, Theresa Loper, Paul Loper, Jamie Stoneberger Loper, Dawn Loper, James Loper, the Ethel Edwards Loper family, the

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