This article examines Hector Berlioz’s musical novella Euphonia, ou, La ville musicale (1844) as a rewriting of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s musical tales and, via the key figure of the woman singer, as a critical commentary on Romantic musical-literary aesthetics. Through a close reading of Euphonia and an analysis of its female protagonist, the singer Mina, the article discusses the undermining of the stereotypical Romantic ideal of the woman singer as a muse to the male hero by means of Berlioz’s strong case for female artistic self-expression. Drawing on the ironic treatment of the Romantic singer as a male fantasy in the texts of Hoffmann, Berlioz uses Mina to expose the Romantic ideal of music as a flawed and ultimately unsustainable musical dystopia.


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pp. 173-189
Launched on MUSE
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