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Debussy, Mallarmé and the aesthetics of appearing

Seminar by Julian Johnson for the Centre for Translating Cultures

The music of Debussy initiates a radical shift of emphasis from the idea of music as a kind of saying to one of appearing. From his youthful setting of Mallarmé’s Apparition to his Trois Poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé nearly three decades later, the composer’s work forms a counterpoint to the aesthetic thinking of the poet. But what exactly is it that music (the noisy, sounding kind) can tell us about language?

Event details

Julian Johnson is Regius Professor of Music at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has published widely on the history and philosophy of music with a particular focus on European modernism. He is currently completing a book for OUP titled After Debussy. Music, Language, and the Margins of Philosophy.


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