Show Less
Open access

Musicality of a Literary Work


Andrzej Hejmej

This book represents an attempt to capture different links between modern literature and music. The author examines strict intertextual correlations, the phenomena of musicality and musicality of literary works, the musical structure in literature, so-called musical literary texts. He focuses on the novel Le Cœur absolu by Philippe Sollers, the poem Todesfuge by Paul Celan, the Preludio e Fughe by Umberto Saba and the drama Judasz z Kariothu [Judas Iscariot] by Karol Hubert Rostworowski. The analysis also includes Stanisław Barańczak’s cycle of poems Podróż zimowa: Wiersze do muzyki Franza Schuberta [Winter Journey: Poems to the Music of Franz Schubert] and a fragment of Scène from Hérodiade by Stéphane Mallarmé in Paul Hindemith’s composition «Hérodiade» de Stéphane Mallarmé.

Show Summary Details



Part IFrom non-musicality to musicality

1Around Tadeusz Szulc’s Muzyka w dziele literackim [Music in a Literary Work]

Conditionings of criticism

Szulc’s strategy

The genesis of “musicality”

Criticism of the research


2Musicality – musicality of a literary work

The characteristics and the concept of musicality

The paradigms of “musicality” (an attempt at a survey)

Three musicalities of a literary work

Musicality I

Musicality II

Musicality III

Part IIMusical literary text

3Description of music (between the poetic variant and the interdisciplinary variant)

Defining a literary description of music

Description of a musical work or perception?

The convention of frame of description

Description of a musical work – interdisciplinary variant

Description of perception – poetic variant

Description of music: between the interdisciplinary and the poetic variants

4Literary fugues (Umberto Saba’s Preludio e Fughe and Paul Celan’s Todesfuge)

Negative research perspective

Umberto Saba’s Preludio e Fughe

Paul Celan’s Todesfuge

The effect of rhetorical strategies

5Listen and read: two sources of one interpretation strategy (Stanisław Barańczak’s Podróż zimowa [Winter Journey])

Podróż zimowa as a literary text and a virtual vocal text

Musical matrix (context of Schubert’s text)

Semantic shift (context of Müller’s text)

Situational inspirations

Thematic inspirations

Phonetic inspirations

Consequences of listening and reading – musical literary text

Part IIIAt the borderline of arts

6Score – Judasz z Kariothu [Judas Iscariot] by Karol Hubert Rostworowski

Between dramatic text and stage text

Rostworowski’s musical experiences – Judas

Towards the Theatre of the Absurd: “The words disappear…”

Rhythmical worldview


7Literature beyond literature: Hérodiade – “Hérodiade” de Stéphane Mallarmé by Paul Hindemith

A literary work in a musical work

Paratextual construction

Delimiting construction

Linear construction




Index of names