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MoonlightingBeethoven and Literary Modernism$
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Nathan Waddell

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198816706

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198816706.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 September 2021

Articulate Masks

Articulate Masks

(p.137) 4 Articulate Masks

Nathan Waddell

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the question of how modernist writers represented in literature the idea and phenomenologies of Beethoven masks and portrait busts. Many writers in the period referred to Beethovenian portrait busts and masks because they brought with them a ready-made set of allusive undertones. They knew that such objects are freighted with symbolic meanings and that mentioning them at key moments in a novel or poem allowed them to draw on an established history of social and cultural associations. Many of the writers who used the Beethovenian iconography in this way did so to help them comment satirically on the nature of bourgeois culture. Others did so to evaluate the nature of the Beethovenian iconography itself. Two works in particular appear to do both: the revised edition of Wyndham Lewis’s novel Tarr (1928) and Stephen Spender’s poem ‘Beethoven’s Death Mask’ (1930).

Keywords:   death mask, portrait bust, Wyndham Lewis, Stephen Spender, iconography, phenomenology

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