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Music in Literature

Perspectives of Interdisciplinary Comparative Literature- Translated by Lindsay Davidson


Andrzej Hejmej

This book captures links between music and literature in the light of recent proposals from theorists of intertextuality and comparative literature, and at the same time diagnoses the current state of comparative literature as a field of literary research. The issue of literary score, namely the phenomenon of musical intertexts which exist in literature, lies at the centre of the author’s interests. He examines strict intertextual correlations, in situations where a particular musical composition is implied in the literary record, or where it is precisely indicated, or co-exists with it as a component of the intermedial structure. Particular attention is given to realisations of sound poetry by Bernard Heidsieck, Miron Białoszewski, the creator of the Teatr Osobny (Separate Theatre), poetic works by Kornel Ujejski and Stanisław Barańczak, the creative work of playwright-composer Bogusław Schaeffer and Michel Butor’s hybrid text.
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Scores of Sound Poetry (Bernard Heidsieck’s Poèmes-partitions Cycle)


I. Score – Sound Text

In the melting pot of terminology of contemporary literary and cultural studies, the term “score” primarily occurs as a metaphor – completely without meaning or explaining literary mechanisms by analogy (as for example in Roland Barthes’ concept of the suitability of musical notation and written word postulated in S/Z301). It is obvious today that at the moment of embracing a written text, the name “score” accentuates the converging aspects of literature and music, especially certain conventionally treated similarities of literary text and musical text read aloud on the one hand, and the musical interpretation on the other302. As far in such situations, however, recognition that parallel literary text merely reminds someone of a musical text (absolutely without raising the issue here of musical notation and correct score writing), there are other situations where the verbal text is a score – not for (and through the efforts of) an interpreter, but in and of itself. The idea of “score” then ceases to have only metaphorical connotations, for example, in relation to the so-called sound poetry, where it becomes, firstly, the name of poetic experimentation, and secondly, the carrier of the artistic postulate.

When it comes to this kind of poetic experimentation within sound poetry, it is worth remembering, in particular, the interesting concept of the cycle of works by Bernard Heidsieck called Poèmes-partitions. The unusual title of the whole ← 91 | 92 → cycle, creating, in the lexical sense, an ambiguous form of neologism,...

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