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Dead Elvis: A Chronicle of a Cultural Obsession
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Dead Elvis: A Chronicle of a Cultural Obsession

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  192 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
A book that begins and ends with an incredible premise: Elvis matters. Believe it, and Greil Marcus introduces you to an amazing group of fellow travelers. Deny it, and you still become part of a conversation that has defined and continues to define who we are as a people."-- "Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 15th 1999 by Harvard University Press (first published November 1991)
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Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
This is a book about the mythical persona of Elvis that rose up after his death, which to me sounds interesting. In actuality, only about 20% of the book offers much thought on the matter, and the rest is a convoluted mess. It reads as if Greil Marcus wrote an essay for Rolling Stone that was really intriguing, and then it was forced into book form by including every single bizarre reference made to Elvis by artists, musicians, or...whomever from 1977 to 1990.

I liked the 20% that was actual inf
Nate D
Oct 31, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Nate D by: Sonya
As a sampling of writings pulled from other sources mostly over the decade and a half following Elvis' death in 1977 (book reviews, mock screenplays, collage art), this book is mostly a sort of Greil Marcus: the Collected Elvis Essays. Which is both good -- "Greil Marcus: Anything" may be as much recommendation as any book about music really needs -- and the bad -- unlike Lipstick Traces, there is no consistent narrative thread here, and the significance of Elvis must be assembled from a dozen b ...more
M. Milner
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music-reads
A collection of previously-published writings on Elvis, Greil Marcus' Dead Elvis is an attempt to put Presley in a greater context, to reconcile his place in American culture. I'm not sure it's entirely successful, but I'm not sure it's something any one person can do, too.

The pieces range from book reviews to in-depth criticism to obituaries, published in places like The Village Voice, Artforum and Rolling Stone. Some look at works about Elvis: Joni Mabe's collages; Albert Goldman's trashy biog
Debra Komar
May 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
A fascinating idea that somehow became a convoluted mess on execution. First, I was somewhat put off by the total absence of any author's bio in this book - who is this person and why should I care about their thoughts on Elvis? I have never seen that before. Second, while some of the artwork reproduced is interesting (or disturbing), its hard to know exactly what the author is trying to accomplish with this.

The editorial decision to reproduce the introduction in 24 point font was tragic - the
Michael Martin
Aug 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the most enjoyable music related book I've read in quite a while.

Greil Marcus's "Dead Elvis" studies the industry and legend of Elvis AFTER his death, from the tourism of Graceland to urban myths of Elvis sightings, and references to Presley in everything from movies, cartoons, comedy, burgers and of course, Elvis imitators.

It's a breezy, fun read...but it also has some important points to make along the way.

Highly recommended.
Maria Varela
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
A respectful and fascinating exploration of Elvis' impact on popular culture--was a joy to read. Greil Marcus is nothing if not thorough and intellectually rigorous. Also provided great insight into assorted libellous and cruel trash pieces written by jealous hacks, the existence of which I was hitherto unaware.
Jul 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
Look, I get what the author was trying to do, creating a collage of a man who's essentially an image refracted from the culture that produced him, but that doesn't mean it was done particularly well. As such, this book is almost unreadable.
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Greil Marcus is the author of Mystery Train (1975), Lipstick Traces (1989), The Shape of Things to Come (2006), When that Rough God Goes Riding and Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus (both 2010), and other books. With Werner Sollors he is the editor of A New Literary History of America (2009). In recent years he has taught at Berkeley, Princeton, Minnesota, NYU, and the New School in New York. He lives in ...more
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