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Poetry as music : The significance of musicalized poetry in the aftermath of Swedish modernism

Tenngart, Paul LU (2002) In Internationale Forschungen zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft 62. p.149-161
Abstract
In the 1940s, Swedish poetry saw the breakthrough of modernism. With the modernist style came a new kind of poetic aspiration towards the condition of music: semantic imitations of musical genres and attempts to create, with the help of the words' associations, an aesthetic effect similar to a musical effect. This type of intermediality, which I call semantic musicality, was inherited as a norm of poetic style by the next generation of poets, who made their debuts in the early 1950s. These poets dealt with semantic musicality in different ways, but its impact on their poetry was paramount. Their ambivalent approaches show the difficulties of inheriting a modernist norm of poetry. In my chief example, Paul Andersson's poem Berattarna.... (More)
In the 1940s, Swedish poetry saw the breakthrough of modernism. With the modernist style came a new kind of poetic aspiration towards the condition of music: semantic imitations of musical genres and attempts to create, with the help of the words' associations, an aesthetic effect similar to a musical effect. This type of intermediality, which I call semantic musicality, was inherited as a norm of poetic style by the next generation of poets, who made their debuts in the early 1950s. These poets dealt with semantic musicality in different ways, but its impact on their poetry was paramount. Their ambivalent approaches show the difficulties of inheriting a modernist norm of poetry. In my chief example, Paul Andersson's poem Berattarna. Kantat i fyra partier for kor och soli [The Storytellers. Cantala in four parts for choir and soli], the impersonal, vague, and abstract style of semantic musicality was used in an attempt to write a highly personal poem, putting forth direct social and political arguments. Here, a paradox between rhetoric and content is evident which illustrates how the semantic aspiration towards the abstract, non-verbal condition of music had been developed into a norm which limited the range of poetry, and prevented it from the social and political spheres of society. From being radical and democratic, modernism and semantic musicality had made poetry an isolated and politically harmless cultural phenomenon. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Internationale Forschungen zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft
volume
62
pages
149 - 161
publisher
Rodopi
external identifiers
  • wos:000188969000011
ISSN
0929-6999
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
f8e30b84-cc48-48ab-9e99-aea31ca49052 (old id 1406595)
date added to LUP
2009-06-04 14:47:49
date last changed
2016-04-16 03:32:17
@article{f8e30b84-cc48-48ab-9e99-aea31ca49052,
  abstract     = {In the 1940s, Swedish poetry saw the breakthrough of modernism. With the modernist style came a new kind of poetic aspiration towards the condition of music: semantic imitations of musical genres and attempts to create, with the help of the words' associations, an aesthetic effect similar to a musical effect. This type of intermediality, which I call semantic musicality, was inherited as a norm of poetic style by the next generation of poets, who made their debuts in the early 1950s. These poets dealt with semantic musicality in different ways, but its impact on their poetry was paramount. Their ambivalent approaches show the difficulties of inheriting a modernist norm of poetry. In my chief example, Paul Andersson's poem Berattarna. Kantat i fyra partier for kor och soli [The Storytellers. Cantala in four parts for choir and soli], the impersonal, vague, and abstract style of semantic musicality was used in an attempt to write a highly personal poem, putting forth direct social and political arguments. Here, a paradox between rhetoric and content is evident which illustrates how the semantic aspiration towards the abstract, non-verbal condition of music had been developed into a norm which limited the range of poetry, and prevented it from the social and political spheres of society. From being radical and democratic, modernism and semantic musicality had made poetry an isolated and politically harmless cultural phenomenon.},
  author       = {Tenngart, Paul},
  issn         = {0929-6999},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {149--161},
  publisher    = {Rodopi},
  series       = {Internationale Forschungen zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft},
  title        = {Poetry as music : The significance of musicalized poetry in the aftermath of Swedish modernism},
  volume       = {62},
  year         = {2002},
}