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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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7 Literature beyond literature: Hérodiade – “Hérodiade” de Stéphane Mallarmé[[I181]] by Paul Hindemith[[I181]]

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P. Hindemith, “Hérodiade” de Stéphane Mallarmé519

The fundamental problem boils down to simple basic questions: how does literature delight in music? and at the same time – how does music use literature? For what purpose does a musical text adapt a literary text? And how does their coexistence appear? These questions only seem simple, for there are no universal answers. The issue of literary text in the space of music is so extensive and historically complicated that it is difficult to capture them in a theoretical book study520. In proposals that schematically outline the scope of musical-literary research, there are of course two highlighted categories: “literature in music” (concerning programme music) and “music and literature” (generally describes vocal music)521, nevertheless, the result of such a generalisation is always the most general indication of mutual reference points.

Some generalities at the starting point can however be helpful and even necessary, hence the need to repeat the obvious, that from the perspective of ←181 | 182→music, literature constitutes an object of inquiry as a source of artistic inspiration in general522, especially as adaptive material, which is most often taken up on account of the sound value of the verbal text, less often for the sound-semantic value, and most rarely – semantic. (Naturally, such a reservation does not constitute any typology of links between musical text and verbal text and is only an introductory generalisation, raising awareness by the way of the numerous controversies around...

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