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Enlightenment Orpheus – The Power of Music in Other Worlds - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Enlightenment Orpheus: The Power of Music in Other Worlds

Vanessa Agnew


Ancient beliefs in the power of music gained urgency during the mid to late 18th century. The period saw an efflorescence of Orpheus-themed musical works, including operas by Gluck, Mozart, and Haydn. Orpheus as archmusician also emerged as a key trope in aesthetic, literary, critical, and historical thought. Yet this widespread interest in musical utility (called Orphic discourse) seems to conflict with the notion of aesthetic autonomy that emerged around the same time. The confluence of these apparently antithetical positions casts doubt on the widespread view that there was an aesthetic-phi ... More

Keywords: myth, travel, aesthetics, Neoplatonism, transnational, cross-cultural encounter, Charles Burney, performative, alterity, national imaginary

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2008 Print ISBN-13: 9780195336665
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195336665.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Vanessa Agnew, author
University of Michigan

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