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Authors: Toland, Sean William
Advisors: Lande, Joel
Muelder-Bach, Inka
Contributors: Geosciences Department
Subjects: German literature
Music history
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation examines review culture and other discourses of music around 1800, and a series of literary authors who wrote elaborate rebellions against these norms. The rise of public concerts in the 1780’s extended access to music to a middle-class audience, and created the market for a journalistic apparatus of reviewers and theorists who aimed to lay norms for this new culture: when to applaud, what to praise or critique, how to write it all. In reaction against these “bourgeois” or “philistine” strictures, some Romantic writers experimented with bizarre genres — passionate essays by a fictional monk, a parodic concert review ending in a surreal lobotomy, a piano improvisation transcribed in text — to express responses to performance, or to mock the faddishness of popular taste. Alongside trends in music journalism and aesthetics, the dissertation discusses four sets of authors who used editorial fictions to criticize contemporary musical life. The first chapter discusses two books by Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder and Ludwig Tieck: the Herzensergießungen eines kunstliebenden Klosterbruders and the Phantasien über die Kunst. The first of these lays out an theory of the decline of listening practices under contemporary concert culture, while the second pioneers a rhetoric of enthusiastic criticism that hopes to rectify this decline. In the second, the “Wunderbare Geschichte vom BOGS, dem Uhrmacher,” by Clemens Brentano and Joseph Görres, is discussed as a parody of journalism and a published prank. The pamphlet unites texts in numerous genres to tell of a world where the mark of a true bourgeois is to express one’s thoughts in a journalistic review, and the constricting effect this has on the spirit. The third chapter examines the practice of musical citation - insertion of images from the score into an argument about a work - in the work of E.T.A. Hoffmann, who pioneered a version of this technique in a review of Beethoven’s fifth symphony, before disclaiming the possibility of such communication in his literary work. The final chapter takes up Kierkegaard’s appropriations of fictive criticism in Either/Or, where they allow him to parody the self-centered abstractions of aesthetic philosophical reasoning.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Geosciences

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