Mute Performances: Ekphrasis of Music and Performative Aesthetics in Eyvind Johnson’s Romantisk berättelse
2016 (English)In: Silence and Absence in Literature and Music / [ed] Werner Wolf, Walter Bernhart, Leiden, Bosten: Rodopi Brill , 2016, 102-116 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
This article discusses a peculiar kind of ‘mute’ musical performance that features in Romantisk berättelse (1953, ‘Romantic Tale’) of the Swedish Nobel Prize Laureate Eyvind Johnson (1900–1976). Here, Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 57, the Appassionata, appears not as an experience of sound but mainly as a visual experience of the pianist’s moving limbs, as they are perceived by a young working-class writer, Olle. Olle sees himself excluded from a musical community; this feeling of alienation results in deliberately non-acoustic descriptions of musical performance, where it is not primarily the sound, but the performer’s bodily presence that is stressed. Yet such absence of sound should not only be understood as some kind of deficit. By writing a performative ‘mute’ ekphrasis, Johnson deliberately questions the ideas of the transcendence of instrumental music as well as its alleged status as an universal language.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Leiden, Bosten: Rodopi Brill , 2016. 102-116 p.
Word and Music Studies, ISSN 1566-0958 ; 15
Music, Literature, Intermediality, Performance, Beethoven, Swedish Literature, word and music studies
Eyvind Johnson, Intermedialitet, litteratur, musik, Beethoven
General Literature Studies
Research subject Humanities, Comparative literature
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-60422DOI: 10.1163/9789004314863_007ISBN: 978-90-04-31485-6 (print)ISBN: 9789004314863 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-60422DiVA: diva2:1070550