2012 AAUP Public and Secondary School Library Selection
Beethoven permeates American culture. His image appears on countless busts and coffee mugs; his music is heard in movie scores, TV soundtracks, commercials, and pop songs; he is Schroeder’s god in Peanuts and Chuck Berry’s freaked-out parent in “Roll over Beethoven.” In this book, Michael Broyles seeks to understand the composer as he exists in the American imagination and explores how Beethoven became a cultural icon. Broyles examines Beethoven’s appearance in a variety of contexts: American commercialism, the Afrocentrist and black power movements, and the modernist critique of Romanticism. He considers portrayals of Beethoven in American film and theater and the uses of his music in film scores, as well as references to Beethoven and his music in disco, country, rock, and rap. In the end, he shows that to examine Beethoven on American soil is to examine America itself.