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Hong Kong Shue Yan University

Department of English Language & Literature

2nd term, 2015-2016

Course Title: Special Topic in Literature: Literature and Music

Course Code: ENG 480
Year of Study: 4th
Number of Credits: 3
Duration in Weeks: 15
Contact Hours per Week: Lecture (2 hours)
Tutorial (1 hour)
Prerequisites: 1st and 2nd-year foundation courses
Prepared by: Stephen Weninger

Course Description:

The course is a focused examination of a selected topic in literary studies. Among possible topics
are the following: a specific author, literary movement, historical period, genre, or critical theory;
creative writing or literary journalism; an emerging interdisciplinary area such as digital
humanities, literature and the other arts, or the graphic novel.

Description for Literature and Music

This interdisciplinary course explores the aesthetic and cultural interactions between literature and
music. It focuses especially on the transposition of the written word into various musical forms,
from classical lieder, symphonies and dramatic cantatas, to stage musicals, pop songs and rock
opera. There is also discussion of the literariness of contemporary verbal-musical expressions
such as song lyrics. Students are encouraged to appreciate the ways shared cultural material and
iconic texts are communicated in the two art forms, and how they have been shaped by historical
contexts and ideologies. In this way, they gain a more holistic understanding of literature and

Course Outcomes, Teaching Activities and Assessment

Course Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

Upon completion of this course students should be able to:
ILO1 identify and analyze literary works which make use of music
ILO2 read and discuss written texts that reference music and listen critically to
select musical pieces based on literature
ILO3 examine the intellectual and ideological contexts of the verbal and musical
texts covered
ILO4 evaluate the role of critical theory in the study of the literature-music nexus
ILO5 analyze the literary texts covered with a critical eye
ILO6 write persuasively on the intersection of literature and music

Teaching and Learning Activities (TLAs)

TLA1 critical reading of literary texts and critical listening to musical works
TLA2 explanation of theoretical and aesthetic issues
TLA3 class discussion
TLA4 oral presentations on the assigned texts
TLA5 listening to musical recordings and screening of filmed concerts and recitals

Assessment Tasks (ATs)

AT1 Participation and Discussion 15%
AT2 Response Paper 15%
AT3 Presentation 20%
AT4 Literature Review / Bibliography 10%
AT5 Term Paper 40%
TOTAL 100%

Alignment of Course Intended Learning Outcomes, Teaching and Learning Activities

and Assessment Tasks
Course Intended Teaching and Learning Assessment Tasks
Learning Outcomes Activities
ILO1 TLA1,2,3,4,5 AT1,2,3,5
ILO2 TLA1,2,3,5 AT1,2,3
ILO3 TLA1,2,3 AT1,2,3,4,5
ILO4 TLA1,2,3,4 AT1,2,3,4,5
ILO5 TLA1,2,3 AT12,3,5
ILO6 TLA4 AT1,2,3,5
ILO7 TLA1,2,4,5 AT2,4,5

Week 1. Course Overview: interdisciplinary approaches to the arts

literary texts referencing music
literature: The Awakening (excerpts from chapters 9, 21, 39; 1899) by Kate Chopin
Fantaisie-Impromptu (Opus 66; 1834) by Frederic Chopin
Liebestod (from Tristan and Isolde; 1865) by Richard Wagner

literature: Howards End (excerpts from chapter 5; 1910) by E. M. Forster

Symphony No. 5 (excerpts; 1808) by Ludwig von Beethoven

music referencing literary texts (brief examples)


pop songs
Killing an Arab (1980) by The Cure
Cemetery Gates (1986) by The Smiths
Off to the Races (2012) by Lana Del Rey
Whiter Shade of Pale (1967) by Procul Harem
Scentless Apprentice (1996) by Nirvana
ReJoyce (1967) by Jefferson Airplane
Rave on John Donne (1983) by Van Morrison

Week 2. From Poetry to Song

classical Lieder (art songs)
poem: Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel (1829) J. W. von Goethe
Lied: Franz Schubert (1814)
arrangement for piano: Franz Liszt (excerpts 1837)

poem: On the Wings of Song (1827) by Heinrich Heine

Lied: Felix Mendelssohn (1834)

poem: The Erl-king by J. W. von Goethe (1782)

Lied: Franz Schubert (1821)
arrangement for organ: Cameron Carpenter (2010)
a cappella bop version: Maybebop (2013)
pop culture
poem: Cradle Song (1603) by Thomas Drekker
Golden Slumber (1969) by The Beatles

poem: the Lucy poems (1798-1801) by William Wordsworth

Lucy (1993) by The Divine Comedy

poem: Little Viennese Waltz (1930) by Frederico Garcia Lorca

Take This Waltz (1986) by Leonard Cohen

Week 3. . Iconic Text: The Inferno

epic poem: The Inferno (The Divine Comedy; 1320) by Dante (Cantos 1-5, 26)
Francesca de Rimini (1876) by Pyotr Tchaikovsky (excerpts)
Dante Symphony (1857) by Franz Liszt (1st Movement)

Week 4. Iconic Text: Faust

The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus (1592) by Thomas Marlowe (excerpts)
The Damnation of Faust (1846) by Hector Berlioz (excerpts)

Faust. Part 1 (1829) by J. W. von Goethe

A Faust Symphony (1857) by Franz Liszt

Week 5. Iconic Text: Faust (continued)

pop / rock music
Faust (1995) pop musical by Randy Newman

Beethovens Last Night (2000) rock opera by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Week 6. The Musicalization of Fiction: An Experiment

Napoleon Symphony: A Novel in Four Movements (excerpts; 1974) by Anthony Burgess
Symphony No. 3 by Ludwig von Beethoven

Week 7. Lyrics as Poetry: The Case of Bob Dylan

Mr. Tambourine Man (1965)
Chimes of Freedom (1964)
Love Minus Zero. No Limit (1965)
Visions of Johanna (1966)
Just Like Tom Thumbs Blues (1965)
My Back Pages (1964)

Week 8. Literature and Music on Stage and Screen

Iconic Text: Don Quixote
Don Quixote (1605-1615) by Miguel de Cervantes (excerpts)

Week 9. Iconic Text: Don Quixote (continued)


Broadway musical
Man of La Mancha (1965) by Joe Darion (lyrics) & Mitch Leigh (music)
pop songs
Don Quixote (1972) by Gordon Lightfoot

Week 10. Music as a Theme in Fiction: Workshop

short story: Cellists: and Crooner by Kazuo Ishiguro
(from Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall; 2009)
Nocturnes (selection) (1827-1846) by Frederic Chopin

short story: The Violoncello by Dan Rhodes

(from Dont Tell Me the Truth About Love; 2003)

short story: The Man Who Loved A Double Bass (1962) by Angela Carter
(from Burning Your Boats. The Collected Short Stories; 1995)

short story: The Preserving Machine by Philip K. Dick

(from The Preserving Machine and Other Stories; 1969)

Week 11. Reading Week

Week 12. Guest Lecture on Literature and Music (Professional Musician)

Week 13. Brief Student Presentations: Term Paper Topics, Texts and Theses

Participation, Worksheets and Discussion 15%
Response Paper 15%
Presentation 20%
Literature Review / Bibliography 10%
Term Paper 40%

Primary Texts

Burgess, Anthony. Napoleon Symphony: A Novel in Four Movements. New York: W. W. Norton,
Cervantes, Miguel De. Don Quixote. Trans. John Rutherford. London: Penguin, 2003. (excerpts)
Dick, Philip K. The Preserving Machine. The Preserving Machine and Other Stories. New
York: Ace, 1969.
Goethe, J. W. von. Faust, Part One. Trans. David Luke. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008.
Ishiguro, Kazuo. Cellists and Crooners from Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall.
New York: Vintage, 2010. 3-33, 189-221.

Pinsky, Robert. The Inferno of Dante. A New Verse Translation. New York: Farrar, Straus and
Giroux, 1991. (Cantos 1-5, 26)

Rhodes, Dan. The Violoncello. Dont Tell Me the Truth About Love: Stories. London: Fourth
Estate, 2001.

Supplementary Texts
Adorno, Theodor. Music, Language and Composition. Essays on Music. Ed. Richard Leppert.
Trans. Susan H. Gillespie. Berkeley: U of California P, 2002. 113-126.
Albright, Daniel. Untwisting the Serpent: Modernism in Music, Literature, and Other Arts.
Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2000.
Benon, Stephen. Literary Music: Writing Music in Contemporary Fiction. London: Ashgate,
Boucher, David. Images and Distorted Facts: Politics, Poetry and Protest in the Songs of Bob
Dylan. Eds. David Boucher and G Browning. The Political Art of Bob Dylan. London:
Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. 134-169.
Brown, Calvin S. Music and Literature. A Comparison of the Arts. Hanover, NH: UP of New
England, 1982.
Bucknell, Brad. Literary Modernism and Musical Aesthetics: Pater, Pound, Joyce and Stein.
Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002.
Butler, Christopher. Dylan and the Academics. Ed. N. Corcoran. Do You Know Mr. Jones? Bob
Dylan with the Poets and the Professors. London: Chatto & Windus, 2002. 51-71.
Clayton, Martin. Music, Words and Voice. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2007.
Cott, Jonathan. Ed. Dylan on Dylan. The Essential Interviews. London: Hodder, 2007.
Dayan, Peter. Music Writing Literature, from Sand via Debussy to Derrida. London: Ashgate,


Dillon, Sarah. The Palimpsest: Literature, Criticism, Theory. London: Continuum, 2007.

Hutcheon, Linda. A Theory of Adaptation. London: Routledge, 2006.

Kramer, Lawrence. Classical Music and Postmodern Knowledge. Berkeley: U of

California P, 1995.
---, Music as Cultural Practice, 1800-1900. Berkeley: U of California P, 1990.
---, After the Lovedeath: Sexual Violence and the Making of Culture. Berkeley: U of
California P, 1997.
---, Franz Schubert: Sexuality, Subjectivity, Song. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998.
---, Musical Meaning: Toward a Critical History. Berkeley: U of California P, 2001.
---, Opera and Modern Culture: Wagner and Strauss. Berkeley: U of California P, 2004.

Langer, Susanne K. Philosophy in a New Key: A Study in the Symbolism of Reason,

Rite and Art. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1942.
Parson, James, Ed. The Cambridge Companion to the Lied. Cambridge: Cambridge UP,
Petermann, Emily. The Musical Novel. Imitation of Musical Structure, Performance,
and Reception in Contemporary Fiction. Rochester: Camden House, 2014.
Scher, Steven Paul. ed., Music and Text: Critical Inquiries. Cambridge: Cambridge UP,
-, Notes Towards a Theory of Verbal Music. Comparative Literature 72 (1970):
Stein, Deborah and Robert Spillman. Poetry into Song: Performance and Analysis of
Lieder. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996.
Steiner, Wendy. The Sign in Music and Literature. Austin: U of Texas P, 1981.
Wolf, Werner. The Musicalization of Fiction. A Study in the History and Theory of
Intermediality. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999.
Zapruder, Matthew. The Difference Between Poetry and Song Lyrics. The Boston
Review. bostonreview.net. 6 December 2012. Web. 17 June 2015.