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Therese Wiwe Vilmar: Imagining Musical Sociality. Music and the Social in Late Modern Novels

All are welcome to Aesthetic seminar

Info about event


Thursday 3 November 2022,  at 14:15 - 16:00


Kasernen, Building 1584, Room 124

The Time of Our Singing (Richard Powers, 2002) and The Ground Beneath Her Feet (Salman Rushdie, 1999) are two late modern novels that thematise music extensively throughout their narratives. Though set in very different musical cultures – from the scene of European art music in the 1960’s USA to Western rock and pop music – the characters’ relations to music share strikingly similar concepts of collectivity, performance, identity, intersubjectivity, migration, class, race and so on. Additionally, both novels generally regard music (and the musical talent) as something “otherworldly”.

              This presentation outlines one chapter of my PhD dissertation about musical imaginaries in late modern literary fiction. In the presentation, I will compare how the novels imagine musical sociality, and suggest with Rita Felski that literary fiction ”creates distinctive configurations of social knowledge” (2011 p. 14). How does this literary configuration of social knowledge about music take place? By bringing the close reading into dialogue with music sociologists such as Tia DeNora and Georgina Born, I will further ask whether the novels’ knowledge of music suggests a shared musical aesthetics (as proposed by Christin Hoene in 2015) that disrupts inherent distinctions of genres and subject positions in music culture.

Therese Wiwe Vilmar is a PhD Fellow at the Department of Aesthetics & Culture at Aarhus University. She has a bachelor’s degree from Comparative Literature and Musicology, and a master’s degree from Comparative Literature, all from Aarhus University. Her research is placed within the interdisciplinary field of Word and Music Studies, and she is especially interested in the occurrences of music in prose literature. Her scholarly interests include intermediality studies, digital humanities, and music sociology.

Aesthetic seminar is organized by Birgitte Stougaard Pedersen and Morten Kyndrup on behalf of School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University.