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Title: Catullus : lyric poet, lyricist
Author: Oade, Stephanie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 9184
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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There exists between lyric poetry and music a bond that is at once tangible and grounded in practice, and yet that is indeterminate, a matter of perception as much as theory. From Graeco-Roman antiquity to the modern day, lyrical forms have brought together music and text in equal partnership: in archaic Greece, music and lyric poetry were inextricably (now irrecoverably) coupled; when lyric poetry flowered in the eighteenth century, composers harnessed text to music in order to create the new and fully integrated genre of Lieder; and in our contemporary age, the connection between word and music is perhaps most keenly felt in pop music and song 'lyrics'. In 2016, the conferral of the Nobel Prize for Literature on Bob Dylan brought to wider public attention the nature of lyric's poetical-musical bond: can Dylan be considered a poet if the meaning, syntax and expression of his words are dependent upon music? Is music supplementary to the words or are the two so harnessed that the music is in fact a facet of the poetic expression? The connection between music and poetry is perfectly clear in such integrated lyric forms as these, but a more indeterminate connection can also be felt in 'purely' musical or poetic works - or at least in the way that we perceive them - as our postRomantic, adjectival use of the word 'lyrical' shows. Describing music as lyrical often suggests that it carries an extra-musical significance, a deeply felt emotion, something akin to verbal expression, while a lyrical poem brings with it an emotive aurality and a certain musicality. Text and music of lyrical quality may, therefore, invoke the other for the purpose of expression and emotion so long as our understanding of lyric forms remains conditioned by the appreciation of an implied music-poetry relationship This thesis works within the overlap of music and poetry in order to explore the particular lyric voice of Catullus in the context of his twentieth-century musical reception. Whilst some of Catullus's poems may have been performed musically, what we know of poetry circulation, publication and recitation in first-century BCE Rome suggests that the corpus was essentially textual. Nevertheless, Catullus's poetry was set to music centuries later, not in reconstruction of an ancient model, but in new expression, suggesting not only that composers of the twentieth century found themes in Catullus's poetry that resonated in their own contemporary world but that they found a particular musicality, something in the poetry that lent itself to musical form. I argue that it is in these works of reception that we can most clearly identify the essence of Catullan lyricism. Moreover, by considering the process of reception, this thesis is able to take a broader view of lyric, identifying traits and characteristics that are common to both music and poetry, thus transcending the boundaries of individual art forms in order to consider the genre in larger, interdisciplinary terms.
Supervisor: Tunbridge, Laura ; Macintosh, Fiona ; Trimble, Gail Sponsor: Ertegun Graduate Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Catullus, Gaius Valerius ; Lyric poetry ; Reception of Antiquity ; Alan Rawsthorne ; Carl Orff ; Richard Strauss ; Hugo von Hofmannsthal ; Ariadne ; Lyricism ; Ned Rorem