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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 Peripheral Signifcance of Music (Stanisław Barańczak’s Aria: Awaria) ...


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The Peripheral Significance of Music (Stanisław Barańczak’s Aria: Awaria)

I. Mozart’s Don Giovanni – Literary Repercussions

In the distorting mirror of literature music acquires, on the one hand, an unusual “commentary”, and on the other hand – with inevitably deforming artistic operations and literary recontextualisation – reveals some significance potentially inherent in the matter. In a broader look, and adopting the research perspective of Carl Dahlhaus, this is about the effects of verbalising the musical sense (of different kinds of analytical-interpretative discourse, also the artistic discourse), and the terms of establishing the musical sense (what are the rules of semanticism or asemanticism of the music, and to what extent does the music have a linguistic character, etc.)627. We are interested in both issues in the narrower field of reflection, namely, both the conventions of literary interpretation of music, as well as the peripheral significance of music actualised (or to say it better, specifically accented) through the medium of literature. Considering two intrinsically overlapping spheres of concern, the literary and musical, I propose taking a closer look at Stanisław Barańczak’s work, Aria: Awaria [Aria: Failure/Emergency] from the volume Chirurgiczna precyzja [Surgical Precision] (1998)628. All analytical-interpretative operations undertaken here seek to establish the palimpsestial rules. The musical-literary relationship between fragments of the poetic text and one of the arias from Mozart’s Don Giovanni serve to accent the significance of the music, which arises through its own kind of literary deconstruction: in other...

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