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Debussy's Legacy and the Construction of Reputation$
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Marianne Wheeldon

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190631222

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190631222.001.0001

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Collective Memory and the Material Shaping of Debussy’s Legacy

Collective Memory and the Material Shaping of Debussy’s Legacy

(p.133) 5 Collective Memory and the Material Shaping of Debussy’s Legacy
Debussy's Legacy and the Construction of Reputation

Marianne Wheeldon

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 considers the role of material culture by examining the campaign to erect a monument dedicated to the memory of Debussy. Rather than taking at face value the timeless, universal image that these monuments sought to project, this chapter focuses on the political, practical, and aesthetic realities that underpinned contemporary debates on how best to commemorate Debussy. Every step of this project of public commemoration was called into question: from the choice of sculptor, artistic style, subject matter, and location of the monument to the necessity of fashioning such an homage in the first place. In its turbulent fourteen-year history (1919–1933), this project encompassed three committees, five sculptors (Henry de Groux, Jan and Joël Martel, Antoine Bourdelle, and Aristide Maillol), and four proposed monuments and concluded with a highly successful international subscription that led to the inauguration of the two very different statues that stand today.

Keywords:   Claude Debussy, collective memory, legacy, reputation, monument, Henry de Groux, Jan and Joël Martel, Antoine Bourdelle, Aristide Maillol, Saint Germain-en-Laye

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