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Music in Literature

Perspectives of Interdisciplinary Comparative Literature- Translated by Lindsay Davidson

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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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Around Schaeffer’s Scores

Extract



I. “Interdisciplinary Creator”

The panorama of the phenomena of postmodern culture is formed, on the one hand, by various acts of transgression and situations of the identity of the subject and, on the other hand, by a variety of artistic “neutralisation” processes (through structural fragmentation, collage technique, palimpsestial cultural mechanisms, intermedial conditioning); it is in this context that Bogusław Schaeffer’s proposals find a special place462. This is completely understandable if we take into account his heterogeneous artistic activity as a composer, a playwright, and graphic artist. The inevitable consequences of interpretation that arises from such a diverse and complex work, especially when we are thinking about an imposing total catalogue of hundreds of various artistic endeavours being created according to overarching rules (as is the case with existing music), should always be treated in a creative activity as a negative starting point.

Bearing in mind the principle of composing “from point zero”463, we can not of course be tempted to further generalisations. This is not just because Bogusław Schaeffer’s subsequent artistic offerings are situated within a defined opposition to those immediately preceding them (this is an effect of looking after the hygiene of the mind, for example, the famous Kwartet dla czterech aktorów [Quartet for Four Actors] was written during the process of writing Symfonia elektroniczna [Electronic Symphony] as a kind of remedy464), but above all else because of a continual interference that determines the aesthetic boundaries. Indeed, as far...

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