Rock Music as Cosmopolitan Touchstone in Salman Rushdie’s The Ground Beneath Her Feet


Hertz, E. & Roessner, J. (Eds.)

Document Type

Book Section

Publication Date



Bloomsbury Publishing

Publisher Location

New York

Book Title

Write in Tune: Contemporary Music in Fiction

First page number:


Last page number:



Asked why he had chosen rock ’n’ roll as the subject of Th e Ground Beneath Her Feet , Salman Rushdie asserted: “Rock is the mythology of our time.” 1 Th rough the writing of his polyphonic fi ction and this infusion of rock ’n’ roll, Rushdie fantasizes about a medium—a “secret language”—that will transcend diff erences, remain unaff ected by boundaries, and thus possess the capacity to speak to all. In this intertwining of form and content, then, the author reveals a narrative desire for a greater cosmopolitanism. Th is is accomplished through an updating of the Orpheus–Eurydice myth, in which he aligns his own textual exuberance with the excesses of rock ’n’ roll. Th e experiences of his two rock star protagonists—Ormus Cama (equal parts Presley, Dylan, and Lennon, with dashes of Freddie Mercury and Brian Wilson) and Vina Apsara (Tina Turner, Nina Simone, Lady Diana)—are intended to convey a postcolonial terrain replete with earthquakes, fi ssures, and instabilities. In the world of the text, this duo represents idealized artists loosed from “religion, language, prejudices, demeanours, the works.” 2 And music (read: all art), with its capacity to fl y by restrictions and borders, offers the only really solid ground beneath our feet.

Controlled Subject

Ground beneath her feet (Rushdie, Salman); Rock music


English Language and Literature | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies




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