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City University of New York (CUNY)

Modernism

Esthetics

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Agreeable Despair: Modernism And Melancholy, Derrick James Gentry Jun 2014

Agreeable Despair: Modernism And Melancholy, Derrick James Gentry

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

This study considers a group of distinctly modernist philosophers for whom aesthetic and reflective practices represented a way out of the paralysis of a culture dominated by narrowly conceived philosophical values. These modernist philosophers, I argue, helped to give birth to mode of experimental writing that Robert Musil called "essayism." I begin in Chapter One with an account of Walter Benjamin's experimental concept of melancholy and its intersection with the avant-garde practices of French Surrealism. Chapter One begins to contrast Benjamin's concept of melancholy with Friedrich Nietzsche's therapeutic efforts to transform and overcome melancholy on both a ...


At The Threshold: Edgard Varese, Modernism, And The Experience Of Modernity, Robert Jackson Wood Jun 2014

At The Threshold: Edgard Varese, Modernism, And The Experience Of Modernity, Robert Jackson Wood

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

The writings of composer Edgard Varese have long been celebrated for their often ecstatic, optimistic proclamations about the future of music. With manifesto-like brio, they put forth a vision of radically new instruments and sounds, delineate the parameters for spatially oriented composition, and initiate the discourse of what would become electronic music. Yet just as important for understanding Varese is the other side of the coin: a thematics of failure concerning the music of the present--a failure of old instruments to transcend their limitations, a failure of technique to achieve certain compositional ideals, and a failure of music to connect ...