Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

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Introduction. Constructions and Reconstructions of Debussy

Jane F. Fulcher

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pp. 1-6

Ever since the seminal insights ofRoland Barthes and Michel Foucault, we have been inescapably aware that neither "authors" nor their "oeuvres" are a given, but are "constructed" and reconstructed. Our sense of an artistic achievement, of what constitutes the "mature" or greatest works, as well as of the content and boundaries of an oeuvre...

Part I. The Evolution

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Debussy’s Rome Cantatas

John R. Clevenger

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pp. 7-98

As most knowledgeable musical observers would surely agree, Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande marked a radical departure from previous operatic tradition at the time of its premiere performances in 1902. But because the majority of Debussy's earlier dramatic essays have remained all but unassessed by scholars, the composer's circuitous path to the signal...

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Debussy, Gautier, and “Les Papillons”

Marie Rolf

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pp. 99-116

Imagine my surprise when, a decade ago, I was contacted by John Shepard, Head of Rare Books and Manuscripts in the Music Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, asking me to authenticate a recently acquired manuscript. Although the manuscript was signed by ''Ach. Debussy," the song was not cited in any catalog...

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Bilitis and Tanagra: Afternoons with Nude Women

David Grayson

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pp. 117-140

There is a long tradition of using antique subjects to confer respectability to erotic art, but for his Chansons de Bilitis, Pierre Louys took the subterfuge even further, claiming that his book of erotic prose poems was actually a translation from the Greek of the writings of a recently discovered poetess of the sixth century B.C. The title-page of the original...

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Beyond the Illusions of Realism: Painting and Debussy’s Break with Tradition

Leon Botstein

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pp. 141-180

Despite repeated attempts to locate the origins of Claude Debussy's striking originality within the conventional framework of music history, the results have been less than satisfactory. Debussy's debts to Wagner, to Russian composers including Musorgsky, the influence of Javanese and other exotic musical traditions (particularly Spanish), and the early...

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The Symphony in Debussy’s World: A Context for His Views on the Genre and Early Interpretations of La Mer

Brian Hart

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pp. 181-202

The French symphony finds as little favor among many contemporary scholars as it did with Debussy, a famous antagonist of the genre. The subject has received little study, and writers who discuss French symphonies and their composers often use terms similar to those of Debussy, especially when they speak of symphonies composed between 1885...

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Speaking the Truth to Power: The Dialogic Element in Debussy’s Wartime Compositions

Jane F. Fulcher

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pp. 203-232

The essential component in all truly great art was no mystery for Mikhail Bakhtin, the renowned Russian literary critic, whose seminal insights still resonate across multiple disciplines. Greatness remains elusive, Bakhtin maintained, without "inner dialogy," or the ability to think "against oneself" in an ongoing dialogue among possibilities. Dialogy...

PART II THE CONTEXT

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Debussy, Fauré, and d’Indy and Conceptions of the Artist: The Institutions, the Dialogues, the Conflicts

Gail Hilson Woldu

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pp. 233-254

When Debussy wrote to congratulate Gabriel Faun~ on his appointment in 1905 as director of the Conservatoire national de musique et de declamation, he alluded playfully to the anticipated stir that the appointment would create in French musical circles:" ... But if they've decided to put 'the right man' at the head of our Conservatoire...

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Debussy, Mallarmé, and “Les Mardis”

Rosemary Lloyd

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pp. 255-270

It was on the twenty-first of December 1894 that Debussy sent the following brief invitation to the poet Stephane Mallarme: "Dear Master, need I tell you what a joy it would be to me if you were willing to encourage with your presence the arabesques that a possibly blameworthy pride has led me to believe your faun's flute dictated."l...

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Debussy in Fin-de-Siècle Paris

Christophe Charle, Victoria Johnson

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pp. 271-296

Describing fin-de-siecle Paris, the setting and the first site of the education and consecration of Debussy and his music, requires the mobilization of data drawn from urban, social, cultural, and political history. Indeed, at the turn of the century, Paris was a city so laden with contradictory images and so heavily populated by symbols and illustrious figures that...

PART III DOCUMENTS

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Debussy’s Paris Conservatoire Training

John R. Clevenger

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pp. 297-362

When the ten-year-old Achille-Claude Debussy entered the Paris Conservatoire as an aspiring pianist in the autumn of 1872, he was an impoverished, nearly indigent youngster with barely two years of private piano lessons under his belt. Home-schooled and ignorant, with his father temporarily imprisoned following the recent Commune...

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“Le Cas Debussy”: Revisions and Polemics about the Composer’s “New Manner”

Brian Hart

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pp. 363-382

The following readings feature documents from 1908 to 1910, the high point of the period known as debussysme. In the years following the premiere of Pelleás et Mélisande, Debussy and his music became subject to vigorous dispute as supporters and opponents argued whether the composer's influence was good for French music-and if so, which...

Index

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pp. 383-393

Notes on Contributors

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pp. 394-396