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Modernist Frequencies: Literature, Music, Philosophy
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This is an interdisciplinary project that brings musicology to bear on a transatlantic study of modernist literature. It responds to and expands upon Raymond Williams's Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society by establishing its own group of keywords drawn from musical lexicon: silence, overtone, timbre, and counterpoint. I argue that these words should be considered fundamental concepts for literary studies, and investigate the musical aesthetics they represent as unique modes of William Jamesian radically empirical thought. I provide an intellectual history of the modernist musicians, writers, and thinkers who considered these musical features to be central to their work. In particular, I offer novel interpretations of the writing of a constellation of modernist authors rarely brought together: Henry James, Elizabeth Bishop, and Ralph Ellison.
Chair and Committee
Steven Meyer, William Maxwell, Joseph Loewenstein, Vincent Sherry, Lutz Koepnick, Robert Snarrenberg
Peckham, May, "Modernist Frequencies: Literature, Music, Philosophy" (2013). Arts & Sciences Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 206.