The Acoustic Self in English Modernism and Beyond
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Drawing on the analogy between musical meaning-making and human subjectivity, this book develops the concept of the acoustic self, exploring the ways in which musical characterization and structure are related to issues of subject-representation in the modernist English novel.
The volume is framed around three musical topics—the fugue, absolute music, and Gesamtkunstwerk—arguing that these three modes of musicalization address modernist dilemmas around selfhood and identity. Varga reflects on the manifestations of the acoustic self in examples from the works of E.M. Forster, Aldous Huxley, and Virginia Woolf and such musicians as Bach, Beethoven, Handel, and Wagner. An additional chapter on jazz and electronic music supplements these inquiries, pursuing the acoustic self beyond modernism and thereby inciting further discussion and theorization of musical intermediality, as well as recent sonic practices.
Probing the analogies in the complex interrelationship between music, representation, and language in fictional texts and the nature of human subjectivity, this book will appeal to scholars interested in the interface of language and music, in such areas as intermediality, multimodality, literary studies, critical theory, and modernist studies.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Introduction: We Hear Only Ourselves
Chapter One: Let’s Get Lost
The Musical Text
Music and the Subject
The Sonic Self
The Acoustic Self
Writing the Acoustic Self in English Modernism
Chapter Two: Of Fugue and Other Demons
The Listening Subject
The Way of All Flesh
Point Counter Point
In Light of "Sirens"
Chapter Three: Does Beethoven Kill? – Absolute Music and the Self
Aesthetic Reconsiderations of the Arts
A Room with a View
Forster’s Pictorial Turn?
Music as Truth
Chapter Four: Wagner, Je T’aime … Moi Non Plus
Wagner: Let’s talk about sex
Not Defining Gender
Gender and Music
Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk: From Feuerbach to Parsifal
The Longest Journey
Chapter Five: The Dispersion of the Acoustic Self
The Bear Comes Home
Sample, Loop, and the Mix
Zoltan Varga is Associate Professor of English Literature and Culture at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway.