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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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The Effect (Defect) of Translation of Chopin (Kornel Ujejski’s Zakochana) ....


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The Effect (Defect) of Translation of Chopin (Kornel Ujejski’s Zakochana)

K. Ujejski: “I do not like translations – the best are not enough to describe the original”550

I. Introductory Remarks

Attempts to represent a piece of music in a literary text (of the type such as Kornel Ujejski’s Tłumaczenia Szopena [Translations of Chopin], other “romantic paraphrases”551 and a number of earlier and later literary experiments) and similarly trying to obtain proper music effects in language material today lead to a series of new literary questions about the actual relationships between literature and music. If we consider Steven Paul Scher’s proposed question of “music in literature”552 in a broad problem context, then it turns out that we continually face questions in the situation of analysing rhetorically argued musical / sound poetics (starting from the earliest conception of melic poetry through to contemporary concepts of sound poetry). In this way, the same fundamental problem returns, namely, the type of links and research possibilities. The main methodological-interpretative complications related to the issue of “music in literature” are perhaps the most obvious within recent studies of literature. They acquire special interpretation in the works of a comparatist orientation.

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