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Musicality of a Literary Work

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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.

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From the author

From the author

Extract

The book Musicality of a Literary Work, emerging from the traditions of Polish historical and literary theory research on the relationships of literature and music (formed undoubtedly in the twentieth century under the pressure of Tadeusz Szulc’s findings) and at the same time from the traditions of Western European studies in the field of so-called interdisciplinary comparative literature, was created as a doctoral thesis in the second half of the nineteen nineties. In 1994, when I was working on the first draft, publisher Wydawnictwa a5 released a volume of poetry by Stanisław Barańczak Podróż zimowa: Wiersze do muzyki Franza Schuberta [Winter Journey: Poems to Franz Schubert’s music]. For me, this excellent collection of poetic “contrafactum” posed the most important interpretative challenge. My interest in the latest literature and its musical implications ultimately led to my attempts at interpreting various works: Barańczak’s “contrafacta”, poetic fugues from Paul Celan and Umberto Saba, forms of narrative thematisation of music by Philippe Sollers, Karol Hubert Rostworowski’s theatrical experiments with music and the unusual “musicalisation” of Mallarmé’s text by Paul Hindemith.

In this work I have summarised the results of research conducted at the Jagiellonian University, as well as in two French centres of comparative literature studies: at the Sorbonne and at the Université de Provence. The book was mainly written in France (in Paris and in Aix-en-Provence), and so it is easy to see in it basic research inspirations from French comparative literature, especially the proposals of comparatists...

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