Debussy's Critics Sound, Affect, and the Experience of Modernism

  • ISBN 13:


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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 07/02/2019
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

Note: Not guaranteed to come with supplemental materials (access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.)

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Debussy's Critics: Sound, Affect, and the Experience of Modernism explores the music of Claude Debussy and its early reception in light of the rise of the empirical human sciences in Western Europe around the turn of the twentieth century. In the midst of a sea change in conceptions of the human person, the critics who wrote about Debussy's music in the Parisian press-continually returning to this music's nebulous relationship to sensation and sensibilité-attempted to articulate a music aesthetic appropriate to the fully embodied, material self of psychological modernism. While scholarship on French music in this period has often emphasized its affinities with other art forms, such as Impressionist painting and Symbolist poetry, Debussy's Critics demonstrates that a preoccupation with the specifically sonic materiality of Debussy's music, informed by late nineteenth-century scientific discourses on affect, perception, and cognition, was central to this music's historical intervention. Foregrounding the dynamic exchange between sounds and ideas, this book reveals the disorienting and bewildering experience of listening to Debussy's music, which compelled its early audiences to reimagine the most fundamental premises of the European art-music tradition.

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