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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 book represents an attempt at organising and systematising the problems relating to relationships between literature and music in the light of the latest ideas put forward by comparatists and theoreticians of intertextuality. Reflection on the phenomenon of “music in literature” stems from American and Western European traditions in interdisciplinary comparative literature (C. S. Brown, S. P. Scher, P. Brunel, J.-L. Backès, F. Claudon, A. Locatelli). One of the problems here that attract greatest attention is the so-called “literary score”, or the phenomenon of musical intertexts that occur in literature. This problem is presented in as broad a context as possible: from purely metaphorical conceptions in literary studies (various cases of talking about the “score of a literary text”), to conceptions of studying strict intertextual relationships where a literary text either implies a particular musical composition, or is precisely set in it, or else co-exists with it as a component of an intermedial form. The author’s attention is especially attracted by those works in which the musical score (musical composition) becomes an integral part of the literary text. Consequently, the first part of the book presents a review of theories of intertextuality and of the latest ideas offered in comparative studies, which constitutes a starting point for the analyses and interpretations of both general phenomena (e.g. the Romantic traditions of literary translations of music, modern sound poetry) and particular artistic creations (by Bernard Heidsieck, Miron Białoszewski, Bogusław Schaeffer, Kornel Ujejski, Stanisław Barańczak and...

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