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Music in words : the music of Anthony Burgess, and the role of music in his literature

Holloway, Michael L. (1997) Music in words : the music of Anthony Burgess, and the role of music in his literature. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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    Abstract

    Theý principal focus of the thesis is Anthony Burgess, a prolific novelist whose first and
    enduring creative passion was music in general and composition in particular. Burgess
    criticism is limited and largely out-of-date, showing little recognition of the aural or musical
    elements in his fiction, and virtually no specialist commentary on the music and its
    relationships with the literature. The main aim of the thesis, therefore, is to demonstrate the
    variety and strength of the widespread musical elements in Burgess's literature, including the
    importance he attaches to the sonic basis of language, and to show that these are supported by
    the musical sensibility and technical competence evident in his. compositions. It is suggested
    that in the inevitable reassessmenot f his work following his death in 1993, the effects of his
    musicianship on his literary work should play a greater part than hitherto, and the thesis makes
    a contribution to this reassessmenbt oth through its original critical commentaries on his music
    and through the music-orientated discussion of his literature.

    After an introduction and literature review, the first chapter examines three examples of
    Burgess's little-known music. All are associated with verbal texts, though the range is
    otherwise wide, and through them it is possible to draw conclusions about the competence of
    his handling of musical language and structure. The second and third chapters examine the
    more familiar work of Burgess the acclaimed author, but from the unfamiliar viewpoint of its
    musical content, including not only surface references but also hidden allusions and technical
    puzzles aimed at the musician reader. Two instances of music serving as a structural template
    for literature are analysed in detail, and attention is also drawn to Burgess's awareness of
    musical elements in the content and language of the, work of some. of his predecessors. The
    final core-chapter,e xamines the fusion of Burgess's literary and,m usical skills in the context of
    his music and words for stage and radio.

    What emerges is the clear intermeshing of his parallel careers;, and the production within his
    distinctive literary output of work which, due to the radical extent of its musicalisation, has to
    be viewed as musically-aware literature for specialised readers, at times evincing, it is
    proposed, a logic which springs primarily from music.

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Additional Information: EThOS Persistent ID uk.bl.ethos.285844
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Mass media,Performing arts,Literature
    Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
    M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
    Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
    Depositing User: Graham Stone
    Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2009 16:42
    Last Modified: 28 Jul 2010 19:48
    URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/5961

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