Title

Opening Up New Ways of Perceiving Meaning: Exploring Representation and Symbolism in Poetry and Music

Subject Area

Comparative Literature (Spanish, French, and German)

Abstract

This presentation will speak to the possibilities and challenges in interpretation and translation. To illustrate these, I will pair live extracts of 19th century poems in art songs (in English, French, German and Spanish) with participatory, interactive analysis to explore issues central to the interpretations of texts, while shedding light on themes that bring to the fore historicity, traditions, as well as bias and assumptions we hold as researchers, all framed within the transformational power of art.

Analyzing different art songs that share the same poems, sometimes in the same language, sometimes in translation—set to music by prominent 19th century composers such as Schubert and Fauré— is an excellent means of scrutinizing the perplexities that arise as a result of a multiplicity of meanings.

My approach pursues a process of discovery of interpretive perspectives to help the audience focus on "tenuous and eternal interstices of paradox" (Borges, 1984, p.258) vis-à-vis the complexity of life while having as backdrop the human desire for universal meaning (Lyndenberg, 1979), and acknowledging, quoting Gadamer (1977), that art “is more than anticipation of meaning…[it is] a discovery, a disclosure of something previously concealed” (p. 101).

Borges, J.L. (1984). Jose Luis Borges: Obras Completas. Buenos Aires: Emcé Editores.

Gadamer, H.G. (1977). Philosophical Hermeneutics. (D.E. Linge. Trans.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Lyndenberg, R. (1979). Borges as a writer of parables: Reversal and Infinite Regression. The International Fiction Review (6)1, 31-39.

Brief Bio Note

Xochitl Mendez is a Ph.D. Candidate at Lesley University’s doctoral program in Education. She completed her undergraduate degree and her Master’s in Music at Longy School of Music of Bard College. Spanish, English, Italian, French, German, and Farsi in art, performance, and conversation have been central to her studies.

Keywords

Interpretation Translation Poetry Music Hermeneutics Literature Lieder Art Song German French Spanish

Location

Morning Session 2 (PARB 255)

Presentation Year

2019

Start Date

4-11-2019 11:05 AM

Embargo

12-17-2018

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Apr 11th, 11:05 AM

Opening Up New Ways of Perceiving Meaning: Exploring Representation and Symbolism in Poetry and Music

Morning Session 2 (PARB 255)

This presentation will speak to the possibilities and challenges in interpretation and translation. To illustrate these, I will pair live extracts of 19th century poems in art songs (in English, French, German and Spanish) with participatory, interactive analysis to explore issues central to the interpretations of texts, while shedding light on themes that bring to the fore historicity, traditions, as well as bias and assumptions we hold as researchers, all framed within the transformational power of art.

Analyzing different art songs that share the same poems, sometimes in the same language, sometimes in translation—set to music by prominent 19th century composers such as Schubert and Fauré— is an excellent means of scrutinizing the perplexities that arise as a result of a multiplicity of meanings.

My approach pursues a process of discovery of interpretive perspectives to help the audience focus on "tenuous and eternal interstices of paradox" (Borges, 1984, p.258) vis-à-vis the complexity of life while having as backdrop the human desire for universal meaning (Lyndenberg, 1979), and acknowledging, quoting Gadamer (1977), that art “is more than anticipation of meaning…[it is] a discovery, a disclosure of something previously concealed” (p. 101).

Borges, J.L. (1984). Jose Luis Borges: Obras Completas. Buenos Aires: Emcé Editores.

Gadamer, H.G. (1977). Philosophical Hermeneutics. (D.E. Linge. Trans.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Lyndenberg, R. (1979). Borges as a writer of parables: Reversal and Infinite Regression. The International Fiction Review (6)1, 31-39.