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Absent Subjects and Empty Centers: Eichendorff's Romantic Phantasmagoria and Schumann's Liederkreis, Op. 39

Absent Subjects and Empty Centers: Eichendorff's Romantic Phantasmagoria and Schumann's... A recurring theme in the reception of Schumann's Eichendorff Liederkreis is the question mark over its sense of narrative continuity and the presence (or otherwise) of a central protagonist. Up until now, however, scarcely any attempt has been made to view these features in the context of Eichendorff's wider literary production. This article proposes applying an Eichendorffian aesthetic to Schumann's op. 39, viewing its phantasmagoric interconnections, absence of clear narrative order, sense of temporal dislocation and persistent theme of the loss of self as profoundly reflecting the concerns of Eichendorff's prose fiction. Neither the view that Schumann's cycle does possess a unified narrative and central protagonist, nor the converse, that it should be seen as a disparate group of songs, is adequate. Instead, it is the tension between the two views that emerges as crucial in coming to an aesthetic understanding of the cycle. Schumann's procedure, in juxtaposing a number of poems drawn from disparate works, presents an extreme case whereby narrative and subjective identity are put to the test, and the listener is invited to fill the vacant space left by the withdrawal of a unifying subject with his or her own sense of subjectivity. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png 19th-Century Music University of California Press

Absent Subjects and Empty Centers: Eichendorff's Romantic Phantasmagoria and Schumann's Liederkreis, Op. 39

19th-Century Music , Volume 40 (3): 22 – Mar 1, 2017

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Publisher
University of California Press
Copyright
© 2017 by the Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Reprints and Permissions web page, http://www.ucpress.edu/journals.php?p=reprints.
ISSN
0148-2076
eISSN
1533-8606
DOI
10.1525/ncm.2017.40.3.201
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

A recurring theme in the reception of Schumann's Eichendorff Liederkreis is the question mark over its sense of narrative continuity and the presence (or otherwise) of a central protagonist. Up until now, however, scarcely any attempt has been made to view these features in the context of Eichendorff's wider literary production. This article proposes applying an Eichendorffian aesthetic to Schumann's op. 39, viewing its phantasmagoric interconnections, absence of clear narrative order, sense of temporal dislocation and persistent theme of the loss of self as profoundly reflecting the concerns of Eichendorff's prose fiction. Neither the view that Schumann's cycle does possess a unified narrative and central protagonist, nor the converse, that it should be seen as a disparate group of songs, is adequate. Instead, it is the tension between the two views that emerges as crucial in coming to an aesthetic understanding of the cycle. Schumann's procedure, in juxtaposing a number of poems drawn from disparate works, presents an extreme case whereby narrative and subjective identity are put to the test, and the listener is invited to fill the vacant space left by the withdrawal of a unifying subject with his or her own sense of subjectivity.

Journal

19th-Century MusicUniversity of California Press

Published: Mar 1, 2017

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