Virginia Woolf: Music, Sound, Language

By Elicia Clements

© 2019

Arguing that sound is integral to Virginia Woolf's understanding of literature, Elicia Clements highlights how the sonorous enables Woolf to examine issues of meaning in language and art, elaborate a politics of listening, illuminate rhythmic and performative elements in her fiction, and explore how music itself provides a potential structural model that facilitates the innovation of her method in The Waves.

Woolf's investigation of the exchange between literature and music is thoroughly intermedial: her novels disclose the crevices, convergences, and conflicts that arise when one traverses the intersectionality of these two art forms, revealing, in the process, Woolf's robust materialist feminism. This book focuses, therefore, on the conceptual, aesthetic, and political implications of the musico-literary pairing. Correspondingly, Clements uses a methodology that employs theoretical tools from the disciplines of both literary criticism and musicology, as well as several burgeoning and newly established fields including sound, listening, and performance studies. Ultimately, Clements argues that a wide-ranging combination of these two disciplines produces new ways to study not only literary and musical artifacts but also the methods we employ to analyze them.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.0in x 9.3in
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  • PUBLISHED APR 2019

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    ISBN 9781487504267
  • PUBLISHED APR 2019

    From: $41.25

    Regular Price: $55.00

Quick Overview

This study investigates how the medium of sound and its most representative art form of music enable Virginia Woolf to develop fresh concepts and methods in her experimental fiction.

Virginia Woolf: Music, Sound, Language

By Elicia Clements

© 2019

Arguing that sound is integral to Virginia Woolf's understanding of literature, Elicia Clements highlights how the sonorous enables Woolf to examine issues of meaning in language and art, elaborate a politics of listening, illuminate rhythmic and performative elements in her fiction, and explore how music itself provides a potential structural model that facilitates the innovation of her method in The Waves.

Woolf's investigation of the exchange between literature and music is thoroughly intermedial: her novels disclose the crevices, convergences, and conflicts that arise when one traverses the intersectionality of these two art forms, revealing, in the process, Woolf's robust materialist feminism. This book focuses, therefore, on the conceptual, aesthetic, and political implications of the musico-literary pairing. Correspondingly, Clements uses a methodology that employs theoretical tools from the disciplines of both literary criticism and musicology, as well as several burgeoning and newly established fields including sound, listening, and performance studies. Ultimately, Clements argues that a wide-ranging combination of these two disciplines produces new ways to study not only literary and musical artifacts but also the methods we employ to analyze them.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.0in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    "Clements’s book explores Woolf’s sustained attention to the production and reception of sound, gathering together arguments about sonic events, art music, and language in Woolf’s work. Through her bold scope, astute close readings, and careful theoretical expositions, she provides a sophisticated account of the vital importance of sound production and reception to Woolf’s ethics and experimentation."


    Emma Sutton
    Woolf Studies Annual

    "Virginia Woolf: Music, Sound, Language demonstrates Woolf’s consistent attention to and development of imagery and its relation to perception, character, and community – including the power relations of community such as colonial power, class hierarchies, and gender relations. Elicia Clements is certainly one of a relatively few scholars who have tackled the conceptual complexities of music-text relationships, making this work exceptional."


    Gyllian Phillips, Department of English, Nipissing University

    "Despite the abundance of existing scholarship about Virginia Woolf, including her fiction, her essays, her diaries, and her letters, there is a relatively small amount of work that focuses solely and expansively on her relationship to music, sound, and language. In this highly readable book, Elicia Clements uncovers several new areas in musico-literary scholarship and the works of Virginia Woolf."


    Bret Keeling, Department of English, Northeastern University
  • Author Information

    Elicia Clements is a cross-appointed, associate professor in the Departments of Humanities and English at York University.
  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgments
    Abbreviations

    Introduction

    I. Woolf's Musical Ear
    II. Interdisciplinary Methods
    III. "Hoity te, hoity te, hoity te …": Tripartite Woolf

    Part 1 An Emerging Earcon: Woolf's Singers

    1. Finding a Voice

    I. Resonant Beginnings: The Voyage Out
    II. Sonic Networks in Jacob's Room
    III. Urban and Rural Interrelations in Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse

    2. The Earcon Reproduces

    I. "And what is a cry?": The Waves
    II. Integrating the Earcon in The Years
    III. Aural Multiplicity in Between the Acts

    Part 2 Profound Listening and Acousmatics

    3. Initial Apperceptions

    I. Materialized Sonics and Listening Subjects in The Voyage Out
    II. Involuntary, Yet Profound, Listening in Night and Day
    III. International Acousmatics: War and Its Veterans in Jacob's Room and Mrs. Dalloway

    4. Bodies and Voices

    I. To the Lighthouse and Family Acousmatics
    II. The Gender of Listening in The Waves
    III. "Hush!... Somebody's listening": The Years
    IV. Heterogeneous Reattachments in Between the Acts

    Part 3 Music as Performance in Woolf's Fiction

    5. Performing Women

    I. Women at the Piano in the First Three Novels
    II. Performing Personal History in The Years
    III. Historical Reenactments: Between the Acts 

    6. The Performativity of Language: The Waves Musicalized

    I. Word Music: "(The rhythm is the main thing in writing)"
    II. The Case of Ludwig van Beethoven
    III. Transforming Beethoven's Opus 130 and 133 into Words

    Coda: A Meditation on Rhythm

    Notes
    Works Cited
    Index

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