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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Brown, Nicole R.

Second Advisor

Dietrich, Dawn Y., 1960-

Third Advisor

Lundeen, Kathleen, 1951-


In light of current disciplinary shifts toward digital media and multi-modal textual analysis, this thesis explores how the field of English can take up popular music for scholarly study. Through a blend of text and context, the first chapter maps a methodology to discuss central zones of analysis which include audience, author, composition, media, and cultural context -- fluid zones of analysis which hold textual relationships. The second chapter isolates two forms of media, the audio recording and live performance, to discuss specific features of authorship, authenticity, audience rituals, and remediation. As an application of the theory, chapter three explores the artistic craft of popular musician Bruce Springsteen to survey his literary voice which enacts strong bonds between artist, text, and audience. These bonds, demonstrated through the release of thematic works like Nebraska and The Rising, allow Springsteen to blend sacred and secular themes, build his ethos as a contemporary cultural critic, and enact live performance rituals which remediate the audio recording and reshape textual meaning for listeners.




Springsteen, Bruce, Music and literature, Popular music, Rock music


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subjects – Names (LCNAF)

Springsteen, Bruce


masters theses




Copying of this thesis in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.