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

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Any filiations of a literary work with music provide an extremely ethereal and controversial area for research; one case which in the categorising academic description should not raise objections is only very generally defined. That is one of the basic variants of the defined musicality of a literary work – music as a literary theme, to date known in Polish scholarship as “music in literature”224, among other names, and in Western tradition as “verbal music”225. In the aspect of thematising, music has always occupied a neutral or exposed place in a literary work in this sense, that it never found itself among “objects surrounded with anathema”226. And indeed it is because of the specific ahistoricality or universality of the phenomenon that it is common to think of it as something completely obvious. Mainly for this reason the greatest number of proposals relating to the thematisation of music in literature arises (especially accidentally) in the field of literary considerations, which undoubtedly foretell a methodological stage of more specific musical-literary research. In this research dimension, we must agree with Maria Podraza-Kwiatkowska’s conclusion, that apart from impulses on the part of semiotics still: “Inspirations for comparative studies flow from – let’s call them generally – thematological methods”227. Unfortunately, this is very rarely accompanied by critical conviction, that such research in fact almost always sneaks into the area of direct or indirect connections of a given author with music ←69 | 70→in general or with a specific composer228, that they are moving away...

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