1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Music and Modern Literature

Edited By Rachael Durkin Copyright 2022
    462 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    462 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Modern literature has always been obsessed by music. It cannot seem to think about itself without obsessing about music. And music has returned the favour. The Routledge Companion to Music and Modern Literature addresses this relationship as a significant contribution to the burgeoning field of word and music studies. The 37 chapters within consider the partnership through four lenses—the universal, opera and literature, musical and literary forms, and popular music and literature—and touch upon diverse and pertinent themes for our modern times, ranging from misogyny to queerness, racial inequality to the claimed universality of whiteness. This Companion therefore offers an essential resource for all who try to decode the musico-literary exchange.

     PART I

    Questioning the Universal

    1. The Universal: Now You See It, Now You Don’t

    Peter Dayan

    2. Music, Literature, and the Aesthetics of Eugenics

    Ryan Weber

    3. ‘That is the music which makes men mad’: Hungarian Nervous Music in Fin-de-Siècle Gay Literature

    Zsolt Bojti

    4. Music and Gender Roles in Hector Berlioz’s Euphonia and George Sand’s Le Dernier Amour

    Nina Rolland

    5. Re-writing Music Lyrics as Resistant Poetry in Tyehima Jess’s Olio and Morgan Parker’s There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé

    Alexandra Reznik

    6. On Themes and Variations: Music and Literature in Poststructuralism

    Sarah Hickmott

    7. Towards Spirit: Samuel Beckett’s Phenomenology of Music

    Helen Bailey

    8. Music in Postcolonial Literature

    Christin Hoene


    Opera and Literature

    9. Modern Fiction and Opera: Representing Interiority

    Linda Hutcheon and Michael Hutcheon

    10. Trouble in Paradise: Colette’s Claudine s’en va (1903) and the Problem of Writing about Wagner

    Adeline Heck

    11. Pushkin in the Language of Exile: Arthur Lourier’s The Feast During the Plague

    Klára Móricz

    12. Dialogues with Pushkin: From Tchaikovsky to Stravinsky and The Rake’s Progress

    Philip Ross Bullock

    13. Of Sailors and Divas: Jean Cocteau’s and Francis Poulenc’s La Voix humaine

    Steven Huebner

    14. Another Turn of the Screw: Enigma in Benjamin Britten and Henry James

    Lawrence Kramer

    15. ‘Tenderness of an England Long Past’: Opera, Elegy, and the Music of Alan Hollinghurst

    Irene Morra


    Musical Form, Literary Form

    16. Forming Time: Music, Literature, and Modernity

    Jessie Fillerup

    17. Formal Innovations and The Idea of Music in French Poetry, 1850-1900

    David Evans

    18. Music and the Illusions of Form

    Peter Nelson

    19. Setting Music to Music: Mallarmé, Boulez, and the Transformation of Thought

    Joanna Spangenberg

    20. Music Without Music – Kurt Schwitters’s Ursonate

    Gwendolen Webster

    21. Form and Music in Modern Chinese Poetry

    He Qianwei

    22. Variation Form in Virginia Woolf’s Fiction and Nonfiction

    Elicia Clements

    23. Sound and Sense Interwoven: Aldous Huxley’s Music of Ideas

    Akos Farkas and Gabor Bodnar

    24. Music as Content, Form, and Metaphor in Hermann Hesse’s Castalian Utopia

    Siglind Bruhn

    25. Coherence and Counterpoint: Music in the Modern Short Story

    Thomas Gurke

    26. The Muses of Noigandres: Music and Form in Brazilian Concrete Poetry

    João Pedro Cachopo


    Popular Music and Literature

    27. ‘Booklovers’? Popular Music and the Literary Canon

    Caroline Ardrey

    28. Jazz Fiction in Global Context: Between Racial Politics and Improvisational Poetics

    Eric Prieto

    29. Literary Beethovens: Convention, Difference, and Cultural Memory

    Nathan Waddell

    30. Dusty’s Answer, or, Pop Song for Ali Smith

    Stephen Benson

    31. Call-and-Response: Black Music and Literature, from Langston Hughes to Morgan Parker

    Christopher Lloyd

    32. Confessional Poetry, Confessional Pop: Gender, Race, and the Lyric Form in Modern American Writing and Music

    Rachel Sykes

    33. Literary Pop: Dissecting the Creative Process Behind Maxïmo Park’s ‘Leave This Island’

    Paul Smith

    34. Jawbreaker: Literary Punk and Authenticity

    Arin Keeble

    35. The Devil’s Party: Metal and Literature

    Samuel Thomas

    36. Setting Greek Modernist Poetry to Greek Popular Music: The Emergence of Art-Popular [Entechno Laiko] Song

    Christina Michael

    37. Performing Brecht’s Paradox: Misuk as Critical Pop?

    Heidi Hart



    Rachael Durkin is Senior Lecturer in Music in the Department of Humanities at Northumbria University.

    Peter Dayan is Honorary Professorial Fellow in Word and Music Studies at the University of Edinburgh. From 2014 to 2019, he was also Obel Visiting Professor at the University of Aalborg in Denmark.

    Axel Englund is Professor of Literature and Wallenberg Academy Fellow in the Department of Culture and Aesthetics at Stockholm University.

    Katharina Clausius is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Intermedial Studies in the Département de littératures et de langues du monde at the Université de Montréal.

    This book is an important and very welcome addition to the rapidly-expanding area of word and music studies. Both ‘literature’ and ‘music’ are interpreted very broadly to include a wide ranging array of discussions in which the creative tension between these two signifying systems is explored. The notion of the universal in music is problematized, followed by a broad investigation of disparate musical forms, ranging from opera to heavy metal, with an equally broad range of literature. The thirty seven contributors come from a large variety of disciplinary backgrounds and provide a fascinating contemporary snapshot of word and music studies. 

    Dr Michael Halliwell, Associate Professor Vocal Studies and Opera, University of Sydney Conservatorium of Music President, International Association for Word and Music Studies


    ‘This volume will be of immense value to scholars and students of modern music and modern literature as well as to those with interdisciplinary interests. It also has much to offer readers with wide-ranging theoretical interests in issues of modernity. As a whole, the volume contributes significantly to current conversations about music and literature - severally and in combination - and to wider conversations about the importance of the arts and humanities. Collectively, the chapters in this book offer a fertile and compelling exploration of key questions of music and modernity.’

    Delia DaSousa