The title coinage of this book, stimulacra, refers to the fundamental capacity of literary narrative to stimulate our minds and senses by simulating things through words. Musical stimulacra are passages of fiction that readers are empowered to transpose into mental simulations of music. The book theorizes how fiction can generate musical experience, explains what constitutes that experience, and explores the musical dimensions of three American novels: William T. Vollmann’s Europe Central (2005), William H. Gass’s Middle C (2013), and Richard Powers’s Orfeo (2014). Musical Stimulacra approaches fiction’s music from a readerly perspective. Instead of looking at how novels forever fail to compensate for music’s physical, structural, and affective properties, the book concentrates on what literary narrative can do musically. Negotiating common grounds for cognitive audionarratology and intermediality studies, Musical Stimulacra builds its case on the assumption that, among other things, fiction urges us to listen—to musical words and worlds.
Table of Contents
A Pre-phase of Musical Experience
1 On Verbally Transmitted Music
2 Vollmann’s Verbal Scores
3 The Metamuse of Gass
4 Powers and Els
5 What Comes Afterwords
Ivan Delazari is an associate professor of Philology at National Research University Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg, Russia. He holds two doctoral degrees in Philology (2003) and English (2018) from St. Petersburg State University and Hong Kong Baptist University, respectively. From 2004 to 2014, he taught Comparative Literary History and American Studies at St. Petersburg State University. He was a Fulbright visiting scholar at the University of Mississippi from 2009 to 2010 and a Hong Kong PhD Fellow between 2014 and 2017.