Anthem Quality

National Songs: A Theoretical Survey

Christopher Kelen

Anthem Quality
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Christopher Kelen

Distributed for Intellect Ltd

144 pages | 7 x 9 | © 2014
Cloth $64.50 ISBN: 9781841507378 Published June 2014
Paper $40.00 ISBN: 9781783204724 Published February 2015

Thought of most often in the context of the Olympics or other sporting events, national anthems are a significant way for a nation and its citizens to express their identity and unity. Despite their prevalence, anthems as an expression of national self-image and culture have rarely been examined—until now. Anthem Quality analyzes the lyrics of many anthems in order to explore their historical and contemporary context. Christopher Kelen’s research reveals how many of the world’s most famous and best-known national anthems, including “The Marseillaise,” “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and “God Save the Queen” deal with such topics as authority, religion, and political devotion.


The Loyal Toast – A Personal Introduction
1 Identification of the National Subject
The idea of the anthem in the world today
2 The Official Poem of the People
Anthems, their contexts and their common characteristics
3 The Classification of Anthems
Genre and speech act
4 Anthem Quality: Its Paradoxes and Parodies
The uniformity of differences and the automatisation of strong affect
5 Choosing and Chosen
The overt and covert us and them of national devotions
6 Anthems for a Better World
Cosmopolitan and postcolonial hymns
Conclusion: The Soul and Its Un/Official Stirrings
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