Lecture: The blues often portrays a process in which one engages passionate reality, especially as colored by such “negative” emotions as depression and anger, and survives the engagement without being seduced by false hope. This lecture, illustrated by taped musical examples, will be about the ways in which a characteristic irony and wit-the tragicomic art of the blues-can instruct us in emotional engagement and detachment.
Workshop: The blues is a form of musical folk poetry, created by Black Americans around the turn of this century, and developed through various phases and styles to the present. This music has been one of the mainsprings of American popular culture, and some of its products are deep and intricate works of irrestistible interest.
Many blues songs and performances are of great psychological concern, especially in their exploration of emotional states and in their elaboration of attitudes providing strategies for dealing with troubles of various kinds. Such psychological matters will be the focus of this seminar, which will survey the work of a number of blues artists from various regions and periods, from the beginning of this art form to the present day. Tapes of blues music will be played throughout the seminar.
William Willeford, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of English and Comparative Litrature at the University of Washington. He is a Jungian analyst, trained in Zurich, and is president of the Pacific Northwest Society of Jungian Analysts. He is the author of The Fool and His Scepter: A Study in Clowns and Jesters and their Audience, and Feeling, Imagination and Self: Transformations of the Mother-Infant Relationship. He has been an ardent listener to jazz and the blues for most of his life.