Mouvoir dans l\'espace : une esthétique musico-poétique chez Debussy et Mallarmé
Bowman, Daniel Stewart
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The relationship between music and poetry dramatically changed in France during the nineteenth century. Music took a prominent place in artistic life, and certain figures of the era argued for its superiority over poetry. Richard Wagner convinced many artists of the time of the need to subsume poetry into music for the sake of creating a Gesamtkunstwerk, or a total work of art. The result of this dialogue can best be examined by studying the relationship between the composer Claude Debussy and the poet Stéphane Mallarmé. In response to the challenge issued by Wagner, Mallarmé argued strongly for the place of poetry. Though he argued against Wagnerism specifically, Mallarmé admired the expressive capabilities of music, which is a constant presence in his poetry. Debussy found his greatest source of inspiration from the poets of Mallarmé\'s generation. Rather than following the example of Wagner and other Romantic-era composers, Debussy saw poets as the avant-garde, and sought to capture their poetry in his music. Both of these figures, inspired by the relationship between music and poetry, produced very forward-thinking works, and serve as transitional figures for their respective arts. Each using techniques inspired by the other\'s art, Debussy and Mallarmé both make use of non-traditional forms, a sense of movement, and a profound use of silence in order to best express the Ideal.
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