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History of a ShiverThe Sublime Impudence of Modernism$
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Jed Rasula

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199396290

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199396290.001.0001

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Listening to Incense

Listening to Incense

Melomania and the Pathos of Emancipation

Chapter:
(p.22) 1 Listening to Incense
Source:
History of a Shiver
Author(s):

Jed Rasula

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199396290.003.0002

Reflecting the eminence to which music had risen by the latter decades of the nineteenth century, all the arts of the fin de siècle were infused with an aura of expectancy as they sought to induce musical effects by their own means. Momentarily released from its own medium specificity, each art experienced a heightened sensitivity to emancipation. This anticipatory shiver of some pan-arts polyphony was registered in the vogue for synesthesia. A unique supplication at the shrine of artistic intermingling was the phenomenon of “visual music,” documented here as a missing link in the development of abstract art. The chapter concludes with a look at Theodor Adorno’s theory of artistic intransigence as a hallmark of modernism (“art is magic delivered from the lie of being the truth”).

Keywords:   synesthesia, fin de siècle, music, visual music, Theodor Adorno

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