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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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Introduction

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The problem of “music in literature”, known for a long time to literary theorists as a matter of aesthetics, has for a few decades attracted the attention of comparatists particularly interested in interdisciplinary research1. Despite this established interest, today it is impossible to bring clarity to the phenomena connected to music in literature – both due to the diversity of these phenomena occurring in different cultural realities, but also, and above all else, because of their different understandings. Divergent, disproportionate interpretations cause, in effect, the appearance that literary theorists’ proposals are exceptionally inconsistent. It is therefore necessary here to answer the most general questions possible, namely, what is meant by the phrase “music in literature”? This question is all the more justified when issues so varied in their essence appear. These are questions related to non-literary and musical influences, certain types of language formation, forms of thematising music, and interpretations of musical structures in literature or the existence of musical-literary intermedial constructs.

To immediately clarify the point of view adopted regarding the theoretical category “music in literature”2, I take the view given by Steven Paul Scher (as have, likewise, most of today’s comparatists and literary theorists from Western Europe3). It defines a typology within musical and literary studies from one of the problem fields, which consists of three interdependent spheres of phenomena. ← 7 | 8 → The first is combined with the sonic form of a literary text (in Scher’s terms the “word music”), the second – with the...

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