Genetic Criticism and the Creative Process

December 2009
15 black and white, 50 line illustrations
235 pages
9x6 in
ISBN: 9781580463171
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BISAC MUS020000, LIT000000, DRA000000

Genetic Criticism and the Creative Process

Essays from Music, Literature, and Theater

Edited by William Kinderman, Joseph E. Jones

Studies of the genesis of musical, literary, and theatrical works.
Not only the final outcome but the process of creative endeavor has long attracted attention in various artistic disciplines, but only recently has the potential of such research been seriously explored. The most rigorous basis for the study of artistic creativity comes not from anecdotal or autobiographical reports, but from original handwritten sketches and drafts and preliminary studies, as well as from revised manuscripts and typescripts, corrected proof sheets, and similar primary sources.
The term "genetic criticism" or "critique génétique" relates not to the field of genetics, but to the genesis of works of art, as studied in a broad and inclusive context. The essays in this volume explore aspects of genetic criticism in an interdisciplinary context, emphasizing music, literature, and theater. A common thread pertains to the essential continuity between a work and its genesis. This volume brings together essays from leading scholars on subjects ranging from biblical scholarship to Samuel Beckett, and from Beethoven's Eroica Symphony to very recent musical compositions.

Contributors: Nicolas Donin, Daniel Ferrer, Alan Gosman, R. B. Graves, Joseph E. Jones, William Kinderman, Jean-Louis Lebrave, Lewis Lockwood, Geert Lernout, Peter McCallum, Armine Kotin Mortimer, and James L. Zychowicz

William Kinderman is Professor of Musicology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Joseph E. Jones is visiting Assistant Professor of Musicology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Genetic Criticism and the Creative Process - William Kinderman
From Varieties of Genetic Experience to Radical Philology - Geert Lernout
Variant and Variation: Toward a Freudo-bathmologico-Bakhtino-Goodmanian Genetic Model? - Daniel Ferrer
The Genetic Record of a Voice: Variants in Barthes's Le Plaisir du texte - Armine Kotin Mortimer
Can Genetic Criticism Be Applied to the Performing Arts? - Jean-Louis Lebrave
"The hardy Laurel": Beckett and Early Film Comedy - R.B. Graves
From Melodic Patterns to Themes: The Sketches for the Original Version of Beethoven's "Waldstein" Sonata, Op. 53 - Alan Gosman
From Conceptual Image to Realization: Some Thoughts on Beethoven's Sketches - Lewis Lockwood
The Process Within the Product: Exploratory Transitional Passages in Beethoven's Late Quartet Sketches - Peter McCallum
"They Only Give Rise to Misunderstandings": Mahler's Sketches in Context - James L. Zychowicz
A Study of Richard Strauss's Creative Process: Der Rosenkavalier's "Presentation Scene" and "Schlußduett" - Joseph E. Jones
Genetic Criticism and Cognitive Anthropology: A Reconstruction of Philippe Leroux's Compositional Process for Voi(rex) - Nicolas Donin
List of Contributors


Musicologists should certainly find it refreshing to read writers like Geert Lernhout . . . [who write] with such ample reserves of wit and good humour. . . [The various chapters] provide plentiful food for thought. . . Lockwood offers the most eloquent statement about what is, generally, at stake. . . McCallum's . . . is the most persuasively far-reaching contribution. . . . [Donin's chapter] lifts this critical enterprise into a new and even more complex world. MUSIC & LETTERS [Arnold Whittall]

[Explores] the plurality of creative endeavor. Music holds a predominant position in these inquiries, with Beethoven at the forefront. In an excellent essay, Lewis Lockwood argues that [Beethoven's sketches] divulge the "conceptual image," an original idea of basic shape that served as an anchor for the working out of musical material. THE BEETHOVEN JOURNAL

The French school of critique génétique has provided invaluable models for future developments. That coordinated projects among scholars in different disciplines and from different countries are spreading this gospel can only be received with wonder and delight. The insights into musical and literary works that result are bearing immediate fruit and will continue to prove useful to future generations of humanistic scholars. --Philip Gossett, Robert W. Reneker Distinguished Service Professor of Music, The University of Chicago

Works in the performing arts are by nature "living art" because no two performances are ever exactly the same. Through detailed documentation, the case studies in this volume demonstrate that genetic criticism [la critique génétique] is ideally suited for analyzing and evaluating works in the performing arts -- music, theater, and film. Reading these penetrating studies, one is reminded of Paul Valéry's remark that a poem is "never finished, only abandoned." --William H. Rosar, Editor, The Journal of Film Music

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