The Boss and Alienation

A newly released book on rock-and-roll star Bruce Springsteen includes a chapter written by Lorraine Mangione, professor of clinical psychology at Antioch University New England (AUNE).

The book, Bruce Springsteen and the American Soul: Essays on the Songs and Influences of an American Icon, is edited by emeritus professor David Garrett Izzo. In the book, Izzo looks at the man and his music. He takes a special interest in Springsteen’s politics and the singer’s empathy for the working poor, the jobless and unlucky.

Mangione’s chapter, titled “Lost! Can we find our way back home on Magic?” is an essay on alienation as depicted in Springsteen’s 2007 album Magic. The album, Mangione says, is “a very dark and alienated album, but the essay isn’t that dark and depressing!”

Mangione brings some psychology to bear on the motif of alienation in the album, trying to find a way out of that alienation by the essay’s end. “As a psychologist I am always looking toward transforming negative, painful aspects of life into something more affirming and healing, so we end with thoughts about the grueling road forward out of alienation,” she writes.

“Lost” is an allusion to writer Thomas Wolfe, whose theme of alienation and separation informs many of his works such as Look Homeward, Angel and You Can’t Go Home Again.

Izzo is an emeritus English professor who has published sixteen books and sixty essays, three novels and two plays. Published by McFarland and Company Inc. Publishers, Bruce Springsteen and the American Soul can be ordered from All royalties from the book will be donated to the community food bank of New Jersey.

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