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Ut musica prosa: Musikaliseringens former och funktioner i några texter av E.T.A. Hoffmann
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History of Literature and History of Ideas.
2004 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Ut musica prosa : Forms and functions of musicalization in some texts by E.T.A. Hoffmann (English)
Abstract [en]

This thesis elucidates forms and functions of musicalization in some texts by the German writer (composer, painter, jurist etc) E.T.A. Hoffmann (1776-1822). In three chapters, different levels of the occurrence of musicalization are discussed. The aim of this work is to show how the texts are musicalized.

Chapter 1 deals with the overtly melopoetic short stories ”Ritter Gluck”, ”Don Juan” and ”Kreisler’s Musical-Poetical Club” in which the theme and/or the motif concern musical items such as opera or performances of singers or instrumentalists. Beneath this obviously melopoetical stratum there are also other manifestations of musicalization, such as rhetorical devices and repeated phonemes, which contribute to create a perceptible experience of sound.

Chapter 2 discusses the tales ”The Golden Pot”, ”Nutcracker and Mouse-King”, ”The Strange Child” and the short story ”The Sandman”. These texts are not as explicitly musical as the ones previously meantioned, but deal with other forms of acoustic and musical sound. Here, more clearly than in Chapter 1, the use of language is part of the musical experience. Onomatopoetic and sound descriptive words as well as separate phonemes are used in a sound painting way that contributes to represent the story on an audible level, giving the reader the possibility to ’hear’ what is happening in the text.

Chapter 3 deals with the novel The Devil’s Elixir, which may seem non-musical compared to the other works. However, in the same way as these, it makes us of phonemes, onomatopoetic words, rhetorical devices etc, which are often used to convey the experience of crescendo or decrescendo.The main character in the novel has a double. The discussion in this chapter focuses on the sounds emitted by him: nervous laughters, disturbing noises, and the stuttering way in which he speaks. Taken together, these acoustic elements contribute to create a sinister background of sounds, which is shown to be an important part of the story.

This thesis is an effort to deepen the knowledge of the extent to which Hoffmann’s profound musicality has influenced his writing. The aim is to broaden the understanding and appreciation of an author whose artistic skills, concerning the musicality of his language, have often been commented on, but hardly ever thouroughly analyzed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för litteraturvetenskap och idéhistoria , 2004. , 180 p.
Keyword [en]
E.T.A. Hoffmann, German Romanticism, Intermediality, Interart Studies, Melopoetics, Literature and Music, Music and Literature, Musicalization, Verbal Music, Word and Music Studies
National Category
General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-130ISBN: 914-7370-148-3OAI: diva2:189818
Public defence
2004-05-27, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2004-05-06 Created: 2004-05-06Bibliographically approved

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