Fabula-LhT: Music and the Reflexivity of Literature

Invitation to submit papers for an upcoming issue of the magazine Fabula-LhT: Literature, History and Theory

Under the supervision of Alain Corbellari and Augustin Vogel

Music has more than once been helpful for writers to reflect on their own practices, listed since 18e century under the title “Literature”. Now, this use of music as a mirror in which literature contemplates itself, or rather its images, has taken so many forms that it now seems necessary to attempt to explain.

There are many split points. The identity hypothesis between literature and music, for example, gave rise to two complementary myths, one etiological, the other eschatological. On the other hand, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in particular, imagined a “language of a melodic nature” that would combine the virtues of music with the virtues of “meaningful discourse” (Martin, 2011, para. 7), and its far-flung virtues. Caliph, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Imagine in the naked man (1971) A primitive encounter between literature and music in myth. On the other hand, the German Romantics and their heirs – including Mallarmé in “Sonnet en X” (1899) – dreamed of a final blend of literature and music.

Moreover, the comparison between literature and music is often intended to bring about a convergence, even to confirm identity (hence the long history ofut musica poetry), sometimes, on the contrary, is a matter of distinguishing between the two arts: one will think, among other things, of reflections on the temporal practices of music and the novel in magic mountain [Der Zauberberg] (1924) by Thomas Mann.

Furthermore, some writers (or essay writers who have no non-theoretical literary activity) attempt to define literature by comparing it to music in texts with an essay dimension that falls explicitly in the margins of their works (their own or others’ works), such as defining commentaries. ambitious, while others incorporate this comparative dimension into their very works. Among the latter and the latter, we can make another distinction: among those who claim to be musical texts – such as Anthony Burgess who composes his Napoleon Symphony [Napoleon Symphony: A Novel in Four Movements] (1974) styleheroic Beethoven – or even architectural texts borrowed from music – one would think of fugue the interview [Point Counter Point] (1928) by Aldous Huxley – ; And those who like Thomas Mann Dr. Faustus [Doktor Faustus] (1947), prefers to invite literature to reflect on what it is, and to put the characters of musicians face to face (see Vincent-Arnaud and Sounac, 2016), women and literary men.

The notes above invite us to identify the following areas:

  • sex issue?
    Are some genres more accessible than others in reflexive considerations based on comparison with music? One immediately thinks of poetry, and of these notes by Roman Jacobson on the history of the imaginative hierarchy among the arts: “For classicism, the visual arts are an expression […] the purest […] art; Romanticism is music, and to realism, literature. Romantic poetry is destined to be turned into a song ”(Jacobson, [1934] 1977, p. 53). But for Lévi-Strauss, from the decomposition of myth into two branches – music on the one hand, and narration on the other – the novel will be born, and therefore it will be necessary to search for the effect of this foundational divorce (Lévi-Strauss, 1971, p. 583). Without forgetting the enormous question about literary orality (see the following topics).
  • What music are we talking about?
    Compared to music, literature conceived as the art of sound speech or literature designed as silent writing is far from the same. It will therefore be necessary to date the specific contemplation of music (and not only literature) in the literary productions on which it depends to satisfy the reflexive desire in literature. We will think of good Andre and him Notes on Chopin (1938), where he “made music an object of silent reading which literature prefers to call” (Dziop, 2020, p. Aesthetics, which is secrecy ; Or again to Jacobson, who describes the transformation of music into a “vulgar sound” in his reflections on “poetic language” (Jacobson, [1921] 1977, p. 26).
  • To date the equation Literacy = Musical.
    The previous axis also raises the question of the historical system. Studies on this idea, that literature will be more literary as it tends to become musical, have focused a lot on the romantic moment. C’est logique, puisqu’au temps des romantiques allemands, la définition de la littérature comme système autotélique s’accompagne par endroits de l’affirmation de l’identité entre le caractère littéraire d’un texte musicalée la sa uv , construite by Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder, Ludwig Tieck, ETA Hoffmann ou encore Novalis, est « en liaison avec une nouvelle idée du langage, celle d’un langage autonome ou musical » (Otabe, 2005, p. 24) qui sera de propit le literature. But this is more of a crystallization moment than a founding moment: we would therefore like to incorporate it into a much larger history, which will take into account as much the collection of ancient and medieval arts and the “Ancien Régime”. Arts of Dictation and Arts of Rhetoric II, from the “Contemporary Literary Arts” group.
  • Music, Literary Reflections, and Self-Reflection of Works.
    Some discourses of specific ambition and based on musical comparison are overt and exclusively semi-textual, while others are strictly textual: hence a crucial distinction between literary reflexivity—when thinkers dealing with literature attempt, in practice or theory, to define what is It – and the self-reflexivity of works – when a literary work attempts to represent itself, or to define what literature is, by evoking musical works or figures of musicians (and thus in Jean Christophe (1904-1912) by Romain Rolland, whose hero represents the ideal artist whom a novelist wishes to have courage). Only, the situation is not always so simple, some theoretical developments are able to form quasi-textual islands within for example Romance texts. We would therefore like to ask whether the distinction between reflexivity and subjective reflexivity constitutes (or not) a closely related dividing line between the various uses of musical comparison by those attempting to define literature.

Preferably, rather than overly targeted case studies, we expect proposals that affect fairly broad groups, with potential, but not necessarily, post-comparative (or even comparative) and post-historical.

To contribute to this cause:

proposals – Two written pages, followed by a brief outline of the expected article and a selected bibliography – You should send Before May 2, 2023 at romain.bionda@fabula.org.

To do this, please:

  • Select the number address Fabula-LhT concerned with the subject matter of the message;
  • Submit your proposal in an editable format (eg .doc or .docx, but not in .pdf format);
  • Administrators do not put the number in a copy of the letter, in order to ensure that you remain anonymous.

Proposals will actually be evaluated anonymously, and with double blindness (Peer review), according to journal practice. The results will be reported to the authors at 1Verse June 2023. First issues of articles will be due at 1Verse November 2023 at the latest. Before articles were sent in its final version, it was fixed in May 2, 2024, many shuttle trips are expected with the directors of this matter (Alain Corbellari and Augustin Vogel). At the end of this process, texts that respect our editorial guidelines and meet the journal’s quality standards will be published in the fall of 2024.

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The actions mentioned in this invitation

DZIUB Nikol, “Music Disappeared to Silence: Chopin in Two Ukrainian Books (Lesia Ukranka, Maxim Rilsky)”, in Peter Schneider and Augustin Vogel (der.), Writing with Chopin. Frederic Chopin in literature, Paris, Honoré Champion, 2020, p. 111-122.

Jacobson Roman, “Parts of New Russian Poetry.” First drawing: Velimir Khlebnikov ”(1921), translation. Tsvetan Todorov Eight poetic questions, Paris, Sewell, 1977, p. 11-29.

Jacobson Roman, “Marginal Notes on the Prose of the Poet Pasternak” (1934), trans. Michel Lacoste and Andre Combs, Eight poetic questions, Paris, Sewell, 1977, p. 51-75.

Levi Strauss-Claude, legendary, R. 4: the naked manParis, Blond, 1971.

Martin Marie Bolin “Essay on the Origin of Languages: The Status of the Art of Music”, Judging the arts as music. An aspect of artistic thought by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Paris, Humanities House, 2011, p. 21-40. Available online: http://books.openedition.org/editionsmsh/8571.

OTABLE Tanehissa, “The Game of Self-Reflexive Language and the Soul of the World: Elements of Novalis’ Musical Theory”, in philosophical horizons, airline. 16, noh 1, The mind of music, monastery. Jesselyn Gortin & Roch Duval, 2005, p. 24 – 37. Available online: https://id.erudit.org/iderudit/801303ar. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7202/801303ar.

VINCENT-ARNAUD Nathalie and SOUNAC Frédéric, “Forms of Music: Body, Gestures, Instruments in the Text (Introduction)”, in N. Vincent-Arnaud and Fr. Sounac (dir.), Objects, gestures and tools in the textFabula/The Colloquia, online, 2016. URL: http://www.fabula.org/colloques/document3866.php.


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