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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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Miron Białoszewski’s (Sound) Text


I. Types of Textuality (Theses)

Interpretations that are imposed upon both individual texts, and linguistic conventions of Miron Białoszewski’s writing in general – despite displaying a variety of research perspectives, interpretation contexts and problem constellations – are in fact, governed by three main theses. In their initial state, although they are modified and tailored to the needs of the individual interpreter (disclosed directly or indirectly), they have quite a clear appearance and remain complementary to each other.

According to the first thesis propagated today among literary critics, Białoszewski’s text is primarily a graphic text373 (due to the draw towards avant-garde graphics, namely, the use by the poet of operations that are both characteristic of the avant-garde typographic experiments, such as scattering words, spatialisation of text by use of light, and the quite unusual treatments such as starting a verse with a question mark, exclamation mark, comma; structures that could be called circular exclamation or question marks374). According to the second thesis, once formulated by Stanisław Barańczak in a brilliant study that shows up frequently in the reflections of literary critics since its publication in the 1970s book about Miron Białoszewski’s375 poetic language, an annotation characterising the linguist ← 111 | 112 → forms in the whole an audio-visual text (in other words, fake “spoken” poetic text or also a graphic substitute of the “out loud” text)376. The third thesis, or let’s cautiously say for now, hypothesis, exposes the sound aspect in the most...

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