Synesthesia and Music from Romanticism to Modernism
This chapter identifies German romantic theory (from the Jena circle that produced the yearbook Athenaeum) as establishing the conceptual premises from which modernism emerged. The primary dictum, by Friedrich Schlegel, was: “Every poem a genre unto itself.” Exhorting a permanently exploratory outlook on art, romantic theory ended up valorizing music as the exemplary practice of “eternal agility.” Walter Pater noted in 1877 that all the arts aspired to the condition of music, resulting in a yearning for all the arts to surmount local conditions and be gathered into a composite enterprise, generally associated with the total art work (Gesamtkunstwerk) advocated by Richard Wagner.
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