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Bodies in Composition: Women, Music, and the Body in Nineteenth-Century European Literature

Rolland, Nina (2016) Bodies in Composition: Women, Music, and the Body in Nineteenth-Century European Literature. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent, Université de Paris 3. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:56644)

Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only until 31 May 2023.
[thumbnail of 175PhD Nina Rolland May 2016.pdf]


This thesis examines the relations between music and literature through fictional women musicians in nineteenth-century European literature and more particularly through their bodies. The female body appears to be a rich juncture between music and literature, facilitating musical references in literature as well as creating complex musical narrative systems anchored in social, cultural and scientific discourses of the long nineteenth century. All types of women musicians are examined (singers, instrumentalists, composers, and even listeners) along with different discourses on the body (social, philosophical and scientific), shedding a new light on gender and the arts. Our chronological as well as thematic approach strives to highlight a common representation of the body and of female musicians in literature. German Romantic texts thus present women musicians as elusive figures who play a key role in the impossibility to materialise the abstract. Realist and sensation novels are analysed through a clinical perspective on the body and envision female musicians as monomaniacs. On the contrary, fiction written by female authors introduces empowered musicians as priestess of art. Finally, fin-de-siècle novels stage the female body as a degenerate entity of society. The parallel analysis of literary case studies with different perspectives on the body posits the women-music-body triangle as a new approach to gender, music and literature.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Duffy, Larry
Thesis advisor: Cooper, Ian
Thesis advisor: Samoyault, Tiphaine
Uncontrolled keywords: Woman-musician body androgyny gender music and literature
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN441 Literary History
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Funders: Organisations -1 not found.
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2016 09:40 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 12:20 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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