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The Common Grounds of Music and Violence: Depicting Violence in Literature with Intermedial References to Music
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Baltic Languages, Finnish and German.
2014 (English)In: Ideolgy in Words and Music: Proceedings of the 2nd Conference of the Word and Music Association Forum Stockholm, November 8–10, 2012 / [ed] Beate Schirrmacher, Heidi Hart, Kayt Heady, Hannah Hinz, Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2014, 141-154 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Intermedial references to music in 20th century literature often appear in narrations of WWII and of the Shoah. However, the connection between music and violence is not restricted to this historical context alone. The connection of classical music with violence appears as a transmedial topos. This recurring association between music and violence mirrors the fact that music, far from being absolute and pure form, is frequently used to ideological ends, as an instrument of power and even of torture. This conflict can be traced in the structure of intermedial references to music, e.g. in Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange (1962), in Elfriede Jelinek’s Die Klavierspielerin (1983), as well as in other texts. In the following, I will present some shared characteristics of the different ways in which music has been linked to violence within literature. As intermediality appears to be founded on similarities, I will explore the question of whether this recurrent, transmedial connection of music and violence depends on common denominators in the way we perceive music and violence. The fact that critics and scholars mostly fail to notice the affinity of violence and music, appears to be due to ideological presumptions concerning classical music.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2014. 141-154 p.
Stockholmer germanistische Forschungen, ISSN 0491-0893 ; 79
Keyword [en]
Intermediality, Elfriede Jelinek, The Piano Player, Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange, LiteratureWord and Music Studies, Violence
Keyword [de]
Die Klavierspielerin, Intermedialität, Literaturwissenschaft
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Aesthetics; Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-106824ISBN: 978-91-981947-1-5ISBN: 978-91-981947-0-8OAI: diva2:739964
Available from: 2014-08-22 Created: 2014-08-22 Last updated: 2015-03-10Bibliographically approved

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Schirrmacher, Beate
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Department of Baltic Languages, Finnish and German
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ReferencesLink to record
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