Course Description: This is a course in close listening as much as in close reading. We will think of the lyric primarily in relation to sound rather than sense. In short, we will consider the musicality of language and words set to music as they overlap in the lyric and the keyboard (See John M. Archer, Technically Alive). We will trace the literary history of the Sonnet from Petrarch to Donne and examine some modern avatars, especially T.S. Eliot's "Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." We will also examine the centrality of the sonata form to classical and pop music and focus on the German Lied in Franz Schubert and Robert and Clara Schumann. We will read selected chapters from Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain and the importance of Schubert's "Der Linden Baum" to the last chapter. We will also read some works in philosophy and musicology. Peter Szendy. 2008. Listen: A History of Our Ears. Translated by Charlotte Mandell. New York: Fordham University Press.

 

If time permits, we will also discuss Fredriech Nietzsche on sirens, music, and Richard Wagner. Knowledge of German and classical music is welcome though not required.