Download Sublime Noise: Musical Culture and the Modernist Writer by Joshua Benjamin Epstein PDF

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By Joshua Benjamin Epstein

Literary modernism, pushed by way of a wish to fragment after which reassemble inventive shape,
turns and returns to song: a "universal language" and a provincial one; occasionally a decision to
reflection and occasionally a decision to palms; immune to rationalization and, for that very cause, the topic of continuing inquiry. along the trendy soundscape of city site visitors, new media and recording applied sciences, and the sounds of struggle, the likely numinous traits of track gather particular and fabric different types of value. This dissertation argues that modernist writing translates and engages with modernist song as an artwork shape with various cultural and institutional results. It contends leader ambition of modernist writing and song is to critique and mediate the expanding presence of noise, and in so doing, to re-examine the cultural and institutional forces underpinning inventive construction.
It is nearly a cliché to start an account of "modernism" by means of acknowledging either the necessity
to outline the time period and the hopelessness of doing so. What all such bills recognize,
however, is the experimental caliber of modernist shape: its "testing of the boundaries of aesthetic construction." placed in a different way, Walter Pater's nostrum (after Arthur Schopenhauer) that "All paintings consistently aspires to the situation of music" skill simply what it says: arts don't only characterize or remark, yet aspire, second by way of second, such that the adventure of paintings can permit the continual reinvention of a creatively interpretive subject.
Modernist literature aspires to the cultural results of track by means of rethinking how language pertains to different musical and non-musical different types of sound. The salient structural houses usually attributed to modernist writing—narrative discontinuity, fragmentation of voice, emphasis on subjective and psychic states, allusion and intertextuality, resistance to realism, mimesis, and representationality—can be regarded as aspirations not only to music's aesthetic situation, yet to its cultural results: as a method of cultural observation, as a traditionally emplaced touch upon the houses of paintings in line with se, and as gas for the "hard, gemlike flame" of aesthetically lived event. concerns of the classy "condition of music" invite a complementary account of music's fabric : its
status as a developed artifact, and its relation to the social and fiscal stuff of everyday life.

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Additional resources for Sublime Noise: Musical Culture and the Modernist Writer

Sample text

Such a question calls attention to the personal and an institutional basis of art: noise is the stuff that institutions refuse to admit, and with each institution the meaning of "noise" will vary. As Kahn argues, "Noise can be 14 understood in one sense to be that constant grating sound between the abstract and the empirical" (25), and that same oscillation motivates my project as well. Most importantly, thinking about the "oscillation" of noise between the abstract and the empirical serves as a necessary reminder that a similar oscillation is taking place—within musical and literary form—between the ideational and the material.

The term also abounds in Eduard Hanslick's 1854 tract On the Musically Beautiful, which in insisting on the intrinsic beauty of "absolute" music (as opposed to programmatic music) differentiates the "raw physical material" provided by Nature from the "subject matter" or "represented idea" of the musical composition itself. 19 Hanslick's argument that musical beauty emerges only from immanent "sequences" and "forms," with "no content other than themselves" (78), establishes the possibility for this "neutral" sphere of music, in which musical ideas are only musical ideas and not conceptual or historical ones.

The book's history of music is thus selfconsciously, but usefully, reductive. " Circulated orally through festival and religious ritual, music consolidates communities and disseminates myths and symbol-systems. " 30 Throughout his book he insists on the ritual basis of music, even as music becomes commodified and mass-produced. Music is a "simulacrum of the ritual-sacrifice" in that "listening to noise is a little like being killed; that listening to music is to attend a ritual murder, with all the danger, guilt, but also reassurance that goes along with that" (28).

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