Music and Emotions in Literature

Fournier Kiss, Corinne (ed.) (2019). Music and Emotions in Literature. Colloquium Helveticum: Vol. 48. Bielefeld: Aisthesis

Musique_et_e_motions_dans_la_litte_rature_Fournier_Kiss.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution-Share Alike (CC-BY-SA).

Download (3MB) | Preview

In philosophical, aesthetic and musicological discourses, the association of music with emotions seems to be taken for granted, although the modalities of this connection have varied considerably over the centuries. Whether it is theorised as an abstract scheme based on relations of numbers or proportions (cf. the Greek theory and all its later derivatives), as an imitation of nature or of affective states (cf. the classical aesthetics) or as a direct expression of the passions (cf. the romantic metaphysics), music is systematically considered the artistic activity best able to provoke e-motions (e-movere), i.e. to move and to ‘set in motion’ the body as well as the soul, and by extension, best able to put in relation and to favour communication with the divine and with other human beings (cf. current association between music and religion, re-ligare, ‘re-late’). Literature appears conscious of this advantage music has over it in the sphere of emotions: it is indeed not unusual that when it evokes emotions (i.e. holds discourse about them) and/or aims to arouse them (i.e. to produce a direct emotional action on the reader), it makes use of music and integrates it into its verbal universe. Within the scope of this book, we focus on the manner in which literature, while retaining its own weapons (words) and without resorting to a direct collaboration with music as it does in opera or song, utilises music for conveying states of sensitivity and for increasing its emotional and communicative potential. The options for the mobilisation of music in literary texts are multiple: at content level, musical traces can manifest themselves in the form of themes or motifs (descriptions of musicians, musical performances, musical instruments, etc.), musical quotations (fragments of a score that interrupts the text), or discourses on music (ranging from technical and musicological analysis to subjective interpretations of a work with generous use of images and metaphors); from the formal point of view, musical thought can be seen either in the musicality of the text (phonic or rhythmic aspect) or in its structure (sonata form, fugue form, etc.).
The articles in English, French and German gathered in this book try to respond to these questions: By which specific use of these models does the literary work attempt to increase and value its emotional content and impact? Does it always succeed in doing so? Do these models lead to an extension of the literary field and the means of literary expression?

Item Type:

Book (Monograph)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of French Language and Literature
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of French Language and Literature > Literary Studies

UniBE Contributor:

Fournier Kiss, Corinne


800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 840 French & related literatures
400 Language > 440 French & related languages
100 Philosophy
700 Arts > 780 Music
800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 820 English & Old English literatures
800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 830 German & related literatures
800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 850 Italian, Romanian & related literatures
800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 870 Latin & Italic literatures
800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 890 Other literatures






Colloquium Helveticum






Corinne Ingrid Fournier Kiss

Date Deposited:

04 Jun 2020 14:44

Last Modified:

03 May 2021 08:34




Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback