Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century

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Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century
Author Greil Marcus
Country United States
Language English
Genre Nonfiction
Publisher Harvard University Press
Publication date
1989
Pages 496
ISBN 0-674-53580-4
Preceded by Stranded: Rock and Roll for a Desert Island
Followed by Dead Elvis: A Chronicle of a Cultural Obsession
This article is about the book, for the compilation album by Manic Street Preachers see Lipstick Traces (A Secret History of Manic Street Preachers).

Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century (1989) is a non-fiction book by American rock-music critic Greil Marcus that examines popular music and art as a social critique of Western culture.

The book covers 20th century avant-garde art movements like Dadaism, Lettrist International and Situationist International and their influence on late 20th century countercultures and The Sex Pistols and punk movement. "This book does not pretend to be a history of any of the movements it addresses," the author writes (p. 414.) "The events of the Free Speech Movement at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1964 "formed a standard against which I've judged the present and the past ever since . . . I never got over it . . . as an incomplete but indelible image of good public life" (p. 411)


A "soundtrack" to Lipstick Traces, compiling many of the songs referenced in the book, was released by Rough Trade Records in 1993. [1]

In 1999, the book was adapted into a stage production by Rude Mechanicals (a.k.a. Rude Mechs) of Austin, TX. The play has been performed all across the United States- including a stint Off-Broadway in 2001- and in Salzburg, Austria. In 2005, the play was invited to join the New York Public Library's Dramatic Literature Archive.

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