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Chapter Six: Interpreting “Hound Dog.” Looking over the many books written about Elvis Presley through the years, one finds a particular arc. The first authors, older than Presley, had roots in swing; they saw both progress and poppycock in his 1956 coronation. Boomers (Nik Cohn in the United Kingdom; the trio of Stanley Booth, Peter Guralnick, and Greil Marcus in the United States) had no such reservations—their world all but began with Elvis. Then things shifted back: Elvis less lauded than cherished for his flaws, as postmodernism to a Don DeLillo, as a southerner, as a stand-in for Bill Clinton. In recent years Elvis has been parsed for history by Michael Bertrand, musicology by Robert Fink, and literature by Ed Comentale. Then that, too, passed, as writers moved on to figures such as Big Mama Thornton, leaving Presley to Hollywood.

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