Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

Music made a media splash a few years ago, when it was alleged that listening to Mozart in the crib would improve test scores and help children get into college. The wave subsided pretty quickly, although the Web site mozarteffect.com continues to promote the claim. ...

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1. Introduction: Music and Abstraction

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pp. 3-37

What does music mean? Three questions are rolled up into this one: What does music say? What does it intend? What does it signify? Or, in other terms: What are the contents of a piece of music, the effects, the consequences? ...

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2. Music and Fantasy

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pp. 38-62

Lawrence Kramer’s brave book, Why Classical Music Still Matters, climaxes with an account of the saving grace of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. The music, he says, imagines “an unbroken continuity of tradition.”1 Is this really imagining? Well, not exactly. He hedges a bit: “imagining . . . that is, in music” (197). ...

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3. German Romanticism and Music

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pp. 63-78

Next to the riches of poetry, a classical aesthetic could only regard music as defective. Music could and did delight, but, lacking words, it could not instruct. Its role was secondary: it accompanied social occasions, decorated dramatic performance, moderated the courtly discipline of dance, adorned the home. ...

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4. Negative Poetics: On Skepticism and the Lyric Voice

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pp. 79-98

Who tells a poem? Whose voice is it? What is the relation of recitation to citation? Foolish questions, one might say. Narration is a problem for narratologists, not poeticians. Poems come from the heart. They are the true voice of feeling. So said Sir Philip Sidney, at the birth of the English sonnet tradition: ...

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5. Rethinking the Scale of Literary History

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pp. 99-140

“Literary history used to be impossible to write; lately it has become much harder.”1 Such was Lawrence Lipking’s opening salvo to a volume on literary history that I edited a few years ago. Despite the challenge, literary history undoubtedly enjoyed a remarkable revival in the past couple of decades. ...

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6. Mozart, Bach, and Musical Abjection

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pp. 141-165

I am concerned here with the relationship of classical to baroque style. My point of departure is the above quotation from Thomas Mann.1 Doctor Faustus is the fictional biography of a modernist composer named Adrian Leverkühn, purportedly the work of his teacher, Serenus Zeitblom. ...

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7. Moods at Mid-Century: Handel and English Literature, 1740–1760

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pp. 166-198

This chapter arises out of talks given at an Aston Magna Institute entitled “Handel’s London.” My task was to characterize Handel’s oratorio production in relation to the literary culture of his day. Since the primary audience was musicologists, the emphasis in the chapter lies on characterizing the writers. ...

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8. Passion and Love: Anacreontic Song and the Roots of Romantic Lyric

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pp. 199-224

My topic is the eighteenth-century love lyric. That may seem a double impossibility. First, in the common view, the eighteenth century was “an era without poetry.”1 Good eighteenth-century poetry was satiric or didactic, bad eighteenth-century poetry was descriptive or odic, but, as Margaret Doody writes in a generally splendid survey, ...

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9. Haydn’s Whimsy: Poetry, Sexuality, Repetition

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pp. 225-250

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Enlightenment was not an age of successful lyric verse. That is the premise of chapter 8. But why should that matter to composers of songs? Schubert and Brahms had no difficulty making great music of paltry texts, nor did Fauré and Debussy. ...

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10. Non Giovanni: Mozart with Hegel

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pp. 251-298

This chapter arises from thinking about Don Giovanni at a time when I was reading and teaching Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. Hegel was an avid opera-goer, and he had seen Don Giovanni, but the Phenomenology does not discuss music as it does a number of important literary works. So this is not in any sense intended as Hegel’s “reading” of Don Giovanni. ...

Notes

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pp. 299-360

Index

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pp. 361-374