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May 06, 2010 11:00 AM Rock On

By Daniel Luzer

Is it kind of amazing or is it a nightmare to have a professor who’s in a band? Inside Higher Ed reports that four California academics have a rock band called Glass Wave.

Inspired by a line in Ezra Pound’s “Cantos,” the band’s moniker is consistent with its modus operandi: writing rock songs based on canonical works of literature. The 11-track album adapts themes and narratives from Homer, Ovid, Shakespeare, Herman Melville, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, and Vladimir Nabokov, and sets them to musical compositions, generally in the vein of 1960s and ’70s progressive rock typified by groups such as Pink Floyd, The Soft Machine, and Supertramp.

The professors, Daniel Edelstein, Robert Harrison, Thomas Harrison, and Christy Wampole, formed a band two years ago when Edelstein and (Thomas) Harrison decided it might be interesting to try and set classic literature to rock music. Glass Wave finds that most attempts to do such a thing tend to result in awkward songs because the artists following the structure of the literature too closely. Glass Wave tries to avoid that. As Wampole explains, he band tries to “open up new narrative possibilities. They try to retell unheard perspectives of certain characters from the books.”

This is the band’s take one emblematic character from the Iliad:

I shall wait with bated breath for the album version of Anna Karenina.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer