Broken Harmony Shakespeare and the Politics of Music

Auteur: Joseph M. Ortiz
Taal: Engels
Broken Harmony
  • Engels
  • Hardcover
  • 9780801449314
  • februari 2011
  • 280 pagina's
Alle productspecificaties


Music was a subject of considerable debate during the Renaissance. The notion that music could be interpreted in a meaningful way clashed regularly with evidence that music was in fact profoundly promiscuous in its application and effects. Subsequently, much writing in the period reflects a desire to ward off music's illegibility rather than come to terms with its actual effects. In Broken Harmony, Joseph M. Ortiz revises our understanding of music's relationship to language in Renaissance England. In the process he shows the degree to which discussions of music were ideologically and politically charged. Offering a historically nuanced account of the early modern debate over music, along with close readings of several of Shakespeare's plays (including Titus Andronicus, The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, and The Winter's Tale) and Milton's A Maske, Ortiz challenges the consensus that music's affinity with poetry was widely accepted, or even desired, by Renaissance poets. Shakespeare more than any other early modern poet exposed the fault lines in the debate about music's function in art, repeatedly staging disruptive scenes of music that expose an underlying struggle between textual and sensuous authorities. Such musical interventions in textual experiences highlight the significance of sound as an aesthetic and sensory experience independent of any narrative function.


The beautifully written Broken Harmony makes a splendid contribution to Shakespeare and Renaissance studies by examining not only Shakespeare's strategic deployment of music in a dozen or so plays but also the cultural politics that informed this choice. Joseph M. Ortiz's argument is wholly original and his approach securely interdisciplinary, and his conclusions apply to a broad range of late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century texts. -- William J. Kennedy, Cornell University In Broken Harmony, Joseph M. Ortiz takes on the important topic of music as a scripted event in Shakespeare's plays. To the philosophical and practical aspects of early modern music Ortiz adds a politics of music that gets right to the heart of religious controversy in the period between Catholic and Protestant, high church and low. -- Bruce R. Smith, Dean's Professor of English, University of Southern California Drawing on an impressive range of primary source material and the close reading of centuries worth of criticism, Joseph M. Ortiz's book goes beyond conventional disciplinary boundaries to demonstrate the vast complexities of Shakespeare's use of music. He shows convincingly that Shakespeare and such contemporaries as Milton had a deep understanding of music as multifaceted art and as science, as embodied practice and as linguistically mediated metaphor, and carefully manipulated expectations of it against a background of conflicting claims about its nature by various factions who used it for their own political ends. In particular, Ortiz shows that the relationships among music, language, imagery, and the performing body in Shakespeare's era were anything but simple. -- Linda Phyllis Austern, Northwestern University Ortiz's goal is to reexamine all the concepts related to and about music in Renaissance England and specifically to argue that Shakespeare challenges many of the concepts that were carried over from medieval notions and viewpoints.... It is a fascinating approach and historical perspective that has been lost on previous scholarship in this area.... This is an important contribution to musicological, historical, and Shakespearean studies. -- Bradford Lee Eden * Sixteenth Century Journal *



Aantal pagina's
280 pagina's
Aanbevolen leeftijd
18 jaar


Joseph M. Ortiz
Cornell University Press



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