By Jed Rasula
An abrupt holiday within the triumphing modes of creative expression, for plenty of, marks the arrival of modernism within the early 20th century, yet revisionary makes an attempt to pin down an actual second of its emergence stay disputed. History of a Shiver proffers a unique technique, tracing the 1st inkling of modernism as a substitute to the 19th century's fascination with music.
As Jed Rasula deftly exhibits, melomania--the ardour for music--gave upward thrust to techniques like Richard Wagner's "endless melody" and the Gesamtkunstwerk, or overall murals, which in flip infused the humanities of the fin de siècle with an air of secrecy of expectancy, difficult them to urge musical results by way of their very own capacity. With every one paintings intending to produce the results of one other creative medium, a synesthetic craving ran like a shiver throughout the physique of paintings that might emerge over the following part century. Rasula lines this pan-arts polyphony from German Romantic thought to early experiments in "visual music," encompassing such assorted phenomena as American fixation on Arcadia, early movie concept, and the trap of the fourth size. all of the whereas, he retains specialise in the paramount old outcome in raising song to a brand new common aesthetic typical, arguing that Wagnerism used to be first between sleek "isms."
In surveying this momentous interaction between arts, History of a Shiver levels from literature, track and portray to theatre, cinema, dance, images, and civic pageantry. It retells the tale of modernism by way of improving now not an idea, yet a feeling--the hair-raising power for every portray, literary textual content, or musical composition to bring in an extraordinary area of human enterprise.
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Additional info for History of a Shiver: The Sublime Impudence of Modernism
Although the prestige of music was bound up with the grand nineteenth-century vision of artistic reunification known by its Wagnerian appellation Gesamtkunstwerk (“total artwork”), the impact of melomania prompted a more acute individuation of each of the arts in the twentieth century, a legacy pondered by Theodor Adorno, whose wary assessment of the pathos of artistic individuation I’ll take up after reviewing several episodes of melomania in rash pursuit of synesthetic revelation. Episodes in the History of a Shiver One of the more lively misadventures of synesthetic experiment in the arts occurred on December 11, 1891, at the Théâtre Moderne in Paris.
In doing so, they confronted a nagging question: how could one estimate where meaning fell away and only pretension, hope, or desperation remained? Synesthetic rapture slips into Howards End, E. M. Forster’s novel about the music-loving Schlegel sisters, whose name points right back to those romantic proponents of the blended artwork that stirs up the soul sediment here. Margaret lampoons her sister Helen’s view of a river as a musical experience: “The course of the Oder is to be like music. It’s obliged to remind her of a symphonic poem.
17 An example of such reconciliation is the realist novel, in which the formal requirements of the “filler” impinge upon the thematic material, which is then obliged to reconcile the sprawl of particulars in a subsuming and potentially unrealistic vision of totality. The conciliation of universal and particular, in Adorno’s view, is the stress fracture in art of a social malady—art forced to stand in for an otherwise unavailable redemption. ”18 The abject expressivity of Dada sound poems was one of the ways in which modernism recovered the urgency of the stag, but its nontransferable specificity withheld from it any chastening influence.