The Revival of romantic utopianism in rock lyrics of the 1960s

Bal, Reyyan
This study explores a mode of utopianism that manifested itself in the cultural, intellectual and poetic output of two different periods, the Romantic Age and the Sixties. The study finds this mode of utopianism, which emerged in the Romantic movement and was unconsciously revived in the Sixties counterculture, to be distinct from other utopian modes and movements, and conceptualizes it using the term re-prelapsarianism. Re-prelapsarianism, which is based upon a mystical interpretation of the Fall, involves the desire to re-achieve the original, prelapsarian condition of unity and innocence in this world, through human effort, and the strong belief in the possibility of bringing this about. It is distinguished by a sentimentalist approach to human nature, a preference of nature and the natural over civilization and established institutions and conventions and a subsequently anti-establishment and anarchical position, and the attribution of great importance to the powers of love and imagination. Re-prelapsarian utopianists, who consisted mostly of youth, intellectuals and artists, sought radical transformation in both the sociopolitical and personal and spiritual spheres. Moreover, poetry took on an essential role in this largely cultural mode of utopianism and poets came to be seen as revolutionary and visionary figures with a leading role in bringing about transformation to a re-prelapsarian utopia. Thus, the major Romantic poets are examined with regard to Romantic re-prelapsarianism, and the analysis of the rock lyrics of important Sixties rock bards and countercultural icons Bob Dylan, the Beatles and Paul Simon in terms of their re-prelapsarian function and contents forms the core of this thesis.


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Citation Formats
R. Bal, “The Revival of romantic utopianism in rock lyrics of the 1960s,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2014.