Mallarme and Debussy: Unheard Music, Unseen Text by Elizabeth McCombie

Mallarme and Debussy: Unheard Music, Unseen Text

byElizabeth McCombie

Hardcover | February 11, 2004

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This book constructs a new approach to the interdisciplinary study of music and poetry by examining a series of encounters between Mallarme and Debussy. It challenges the easy metaphorical impressionism that has dominated much of the scholarly literature to date. It seeks to express in a setof analytical terms both the coherence and the affront to coherence that are fundamental to our inter-art experience. In a fresh reading of the famous lecture La Musique et les Lettres, Elizabeth McCombie argues that Mallarme's poetic theory creates an architecture for the cohabitation of music and letters. She proposes his ornamental figures of arabesque and thyrsus as performative structural motifs through whichthe musico-poetic aesthetic is enacted in his text. Using this interpretation of Mallarme's vision, McCombie places works by both artists alongside one another as case studies. Each becomes a filter for the other to reveal an intermediary ground defined by the specific and precise analyses of both arts. The studies develop more conceptual motifs,either from external models or from transferable elements in the Mallarmean text. The new terminology (arabesque, eclat, enroulement, eventail, explosante fixe, Mobius strip, pli, and thyrsus) foregrounds rhythmic relations of time and space; it generates, in the author's words, a poetics ofhesitation. McCombie offers a model for rereading Mallarme's notoriously elusive late verse and prose and for reassessing views commonly held about the work of both artists. But the potential of this relational discourse for literary and musical study reaches beyond Mallarme and Debussy. The apparatus offigures derived here provides a powerful tool of inter-art investigation, a necessary supplement to the individual criticisms of music and poetry, and a new critical vocabulary for illuminating modernism.

About The Author

Elizabeth McCombie is a Junior Research Fellow, St John's College, Oxford.
Collected Poems and Other Verse
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by E.H. Blackmore


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Details & Specs

Title:Mallarme and Debussy: Unheard Music, Unseen TextFormat:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.13 × 6.06 × 0.71 inPublished:February 11, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199266379

ISBN - 13:9780199266371

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

PrologueNotes on Editions and ReferencesIntroduction: Searching for the intermediary1. Music in Mallarme: a musico-poetic aesthetic2. The poetics of discontinuity: explosante fixe and eclat3. L'adorable arabesque4. Song and the eventailEpilogueAppendix: Score of SoupirGlossaryBibliographyIndex