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Goethe Yearbook 259 "foreshadowing" of "metafiction" (xiv) does not grant Mörike too much narrative acumen. Such claims need to be better grounded in evidence from the author's life and mind, self-understanding and creative practice, not merely imposed by critical ingenuity. I never quite understand why such arguments must be made, as though "modern" were a canon of value and literary works needed to be made relevant to ourselves and our situations. Literatures of the past are no less valuable than those of the present. I would be content if Maler Nolten could come to be respected as a German contribution to the great age of the novel in the nineteenth century. Perhaps this publication will contribute something to that end. Neiv Haven, Connecticut Jeffrey L. Sammons Siobhan Donovan and Robin Elliott, eds., Music and Literature in German Romanticism. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2004. xxix + 233 pp. The ways and means of conducting scholarship in the humanities are quite anachronistic. They defy the trend toward acceleration observable in the sciences , and natural scientists' seeming ability to build scholarly networks easily. I refer not to the hardware of computers but to their enabling capacity of connecting scholars from around the world in previously unthinkable ways. Depending on your point of view, you might want to resist this acceleration or start wondering why more colleagues in the social and natural sciences don't see us as odd and strange. Perhaps for some interpretations it is simply irrelevant whether they make it into the realm of the printed republic years after having been conceived. These were my first musings when I opened this overall excellent collection of essays on music and literature in German romanticism.The "Acknowledgement" informs the reader that the thirteen essays that found their way into the volume grew out a conference in Dublin in December 2000. The welcoming note by Harry White, President of the Society of Musicology in Ireland, is dated April 2003; the book appeared in 2005; by the time you read this review no fewer than six years have passed since the gathering of scholars in Dublin. In other words, vetting 32 presentations from the conference to identify the most noteworthy essays, attending to careful editing and book making, is truly a slow process.This is even more striking when considering the speed at which other Wissenschaften convey their professional results. Seen in this light, the scholarly book, in and of itself, involuntarily becomes an ever more romantic relic of information storage, no matter how much it has proven to be ideal in many ways. Still, one can't help wonder whether there could not be other, swifter modes of exchanging ideas, especially when, as in my case, one's own research would have benefited from access to the wealth of information and references presented in this book. As is to be expected, in a collection of essays, the contributions are quite diverse in their scope, methodology and interpretive frameworks. Some authors take conventional, yet enlightening influence-approaches such as, e.g., David Larking, who shows that Liszt's Faust Symphony goes back to Wagner's suggestions for revisions and Wagner's revised version of his Faust Overture in turn is indebted to Liszt's Faust Symphony. Other essays, such as Jeanne Riou's "Music and Non-Verbal Reason in E.T.A. Hoffmann," have a more theoretical approach. However, this essay is also a good example of what happens when theory is fetishized. References to Adorno, Kittler, Foucault and other theoretical figures are supposed to guarantee substantial insights into E.T.A. Hoffmann's writings on 260 Book Reviews and thinking about music. But Riou's theoretical inclinations turn out to be more obfuscating than elucidating. The brevity imposed on each contributor may explain her elaborations on Hoffmann who "is one of the least theoretically motivated of the Romantic authors" but "narrates subjectivity. . . that is primarily acoustic" (43). On the other hand, Riou's conclusions are as correct as they are dense when she observes that "Hoffmann understood that expression and desire were not contained in an idealized identity or an absolute textual base. Romantic transcendence and its path through ambivalence . . . preempts [sic...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1940-9087
Print ISSN
0734-3329
Pages
pp. 259-261
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-13
Open Access
No
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