Music and Myth in Modern Literature  book cover
1st Edition

Music and Myth in Modern Literature

ISBN 9780367550790
Published December 21, 2020 by Routledge
236 Pages

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Book Description

This book is the first major study that explores the intrinsic connection between music and myth, as Nietzsche conceived of it in The Birth of Tragedy (1872), in three great works of modern literature: Romain Rolland’s Nobel Prize winning novel Jean-Christophe (1904-12), James Joyce’s modernist epic Ulysses (1922), and Thomas Mann’s late masterpiece Doctor Faustus (1947). Juxtaposing Nietzsche’s conception of the Apollonian and Dionysian with narrative depictions of music and myth, Josh Torabi challenges the common view that the latter half of The Birth of Tragedy is of secondary importance to the first. Informed by a deep knowledge of Nietzsche’s early aesthetics, the book goes on to offer a fresh and original perspective on Ulysses and Doctor Faustus, two world-famous novels that are rarely discussed together, and makes the case for the significance of Jean-Christophe, which has been unfairly neglected in the Anglophone world, despite Rolland’s status as a major figure in twentieth-century intellectual and literary history. This unique study reveals new depths to the work of our most enduring writers and thinkers.  

Table of Contents

Prelude: Chasing the Ineffable

1. Schopenhauer, Wagner and Nietzsche: the Musicalization of Myth and the Mythologization of Music in The Birth of Tragedy

Musico-Mythic Beginnings

Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics of Music in The World as Will and Representation

Wagner: Musicalizing Nation and Myth in Beethoven

Nietzsche’s Aesthetic Models of Music and Myth in The Birth of Tragedy

Towards a Nietzschean Configuration in the Modern Novel

2. Jean-Christophe: The Silent Music of the Soul

The Genesis of Jean-Christophe

A Born Musician: Jean-Christophe’s Early Years

The Roots of Artistic Creation: Jean-Christophe the Creator

Music Fictionalized: Jean-Christophe’s Compositions

Divisions: Apollo, Dionysus and Franco-German Musico-Literary Relations in Jean-Christophe

Jean-Christophe’s Final Voyage: Improvisation, Italy and Late Music

3. Joyce’s ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’: Performative Music and Mythic Method in Ulysses

Approaching Music and Myth in Ulysses

Stephen Dedalus-Dionysus: A Portrait of the Artist’s Aesthetic Theory in "Proteus"

From Apollo to Bloom: Resisting Songs in the "Sirens"

And Behold: Leopold Could Not Live Without Stephen! The Apollonian and Dionysian,

Side by Side in "Eumaeus"

Home at Last: Stephen Speaks the Language of Bloom; and Bloom, Finally the Language

of Stephen; and so the Highest Goal of Comedy and of Ulysses is Attained.

Myth Updating in Ulysses

4. The Pact: Music and Myth in Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus

Demonic Origins

Mann and Myth

Part I: Adrian Leverkühn’s Education

Kretzschmar’s Lectures

Part II: Why Adrian Leverkühn Writes Such Good Music

The Early Works

Apocalypse Now!

The Great Lament: Adrian Leverkühn’s Masterpiece and Faust’s Redemption

Reprise: Myth and Music as Motifs in the Modern Novel

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Josh Torabi is a Sylvia Naish Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Modern Languages Research (University of London).  He is also a Visiting Research Fellow and Chair of the Oscar Levy Forum for Nietzsche Studies at the Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations at Queen Mary University of London. He works on European modernism, with a particular focus on the relationship between music and literature. He has published several articles on musico-literary relations and is writing book chapters for two forthcoming volumes: The Edinburgh Companion to James Joyce and the Arts and The Routledge Companion to Early Modern Music and Literature.