Debussy and the Fragment (Chiasma 18) by Linda Cummins

By Linda Cummins

Instead of sturdy frames, a few under ideal aesthetic gadgets have permeable membranes which permit them to diffuse without problems into the typical global. within the parallel universes of track and literature, Linda Cummins extols the poetry of such imperfection. She locations Debussy's paintings inside a convention thriving on anti-Aristotelian ideas: motley collections, crumbling ruins actual or pretend, big hybrids, patchwork and palimpsest, hasty sketches, ellipses, truncated beginnings and endings, meandering arabesques, beside the point digressions, auto-quotations. delicate to the intermittences of reminiscence and adventure and with a prepared ear for ironic intrusion, Cummins attracts the reader into the Western cultural earlier looking for the unusually ubiquitous aesthetic of the incomplete, negatively silhouetted opposed to expectancies of rational coherence. Theories popularized by way of Schlegel and embraced via the French Symbolists are just the 1st waypoint on an elaborately illustrated travel attaining again to Petrarch. Cummins meticulously applies the derived effects to Debussy's rankings and unearths convincing correlations during this chiasmatic crossover. CONTENTS creation bankruptcy 1: Ruins of conference; Conventions of break bankruptcy 2: Beginnings and Endings bankruptcy three: Arcadias and Arabesques bankruptcy four: The comic strip bankruptcy five: Auto-Quotation bankruptcy 6: Preludes: A Postlude Bibliography

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As Petrarch knew the inadequacy of the forms of art, inventions of man, to contain the perfection of love, Montaigne recognized the impossibility of confining the imperfections of the human mind in the perfect forms of art. He wrote: If I had written to seek the world’s favor, I should have bedecked myself better, and should present myself in a studied posture. I want to be seen here in my simple, natural, ordinary fashion, without straining artifice; for it is myself that I portray. 32 In a vivid description of their structure, Montaigne described his hodge-podge as an image that anticipated one of Friedrich Schlegel’s literary categories alternately labeled arabesque and grotesque.

Born on the margins of acceptable formal structure and acceptable content, Lucinde was moved to the margins of literature (Schlegel even omitted it from the publication of his complete works in 1823) and has lived there, with other monsters, since its publication in 1799. Schlegel’s collections of fragments were more successful and more influential than Lucinde in his own time, and remain so today. The German translation of Chamfort’s Pensées provided an immediate inspiration, though Schlegel certainly had a rich store of other 93 On Incomprehensibility, Friedrich Schlegel’s Lucinde and the Fragments, 261.

Geoffrey Galt Harpham, On The Grotesque: Strategies of Contradiction in Art and Literature (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982), 29. 30 Debussy and the Fragment spot, the middle of each wall, to put a picture labored over with all his skill, and the empty space all around it he fills with grotesques, which are fantastic paintings whose only charm lies in their variety and strangeness. And what are these things of mine, in truth, but grotesques and monstrous bodies, pieced together of divers members, without definite shape, having no order, sequence, or proportion other than accidental?

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