In Search of Elvis: Music, Race, Art, Religion Edited by Vernon Chadwick (Review)

In Search of Elvis: Music, Race, Art, Religion Edited by Vernon Chadwick (Westview Press, 1997)

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In Search of Elvis: Music, Race, Art, Religion Edited by Vernon Chadwick (Review)

by William McCranor Henderson
Southern Cultures, Vol. 4, No. 2: Summer 1998

Westview Press, 1997

In 1995 the highly publicized First International Conference on Elvis Presley sent a clear message: Elvis was entering the academy with all the eclectic fanfare that had made him King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Though controversial, academic status for Elvis seemed appropriate, since his presence had long been felt everywhere else. But with its proximity to the long-established Faulkner Conference, which preceded it by one week at Ole Miss, there seemed to be something cheeky about the event. Hadn’t one of its organizers, Vernon Chadwick, already tweaked the traditionalists by giving equal status to Elvis and Melville in a course nicknamed “Melvis”? In Search of Elvis is Chadwick’s edition of the major proceedings of that first conference (two or more conferences followed), an array of scholarly and non-scholarly presentations that manages to convey both the attractiveness of “Elvis studies” and its confusions.