NFC Visiting Fellow Lecture 2022-23
"'...the mud on our shoulders...': Luciano Berio and the Postwar Historical Imagination"
This is a virtual event; a Zoom link will be sent out to those who register for a virtual attendance ticket.
About the talk...
In a 1999 interview, Luciano Berio offered an admiring description of what is perhaps the most singular feature of Gustav Mahler’s songs and symphonies: namely, that this music is, at its core, “inhabited by other music.” Although most works are in dialogue with a wide range of historical models, there is much in Berio’s deceptively straightforward observation that deserves more careful attention, especially as it concerns the composer’s own relationship to music history. Indeed, Berio’s evident attraction to the idea that music might be inhabited by other music reveals a clear understanding of the more general idea that works of art are always marked by their precedents, “the mud on our shoulders” as the composer’s sometime collaborator Edoardo Sanguineti put it. Whereas for Berio one of the most important generating forces of a work’s musical identity is an explicit dialogue with its own history, it is ultimately the self-conscious nature of this dialogue that allowed Berio to see the composers he transcribed as fellow travellers in a landscape in which music is, by definition, always about music. In this paper I consider two categories of “music about music” in Berio’s transcribing practice in order to highlight the composer’s unique attitude toward the musical past in the context of the postwar avant-garde. The first category concerns the use of quotation and allusion, a practice that in Berio’s hands shares a number of surprising similarities with the kind of intertextual strategies found in much nineteenth-century music. The intertextual references in the second category, by contrast, have their origins in a far broader sound world drawn from Berio’s own [re]construction of specific sonic events both real and imagined.
About the speaker...
NFC Doctoral Fellow Lecture Series
Morgan Moore – Oct 25, 2022
Performing Dialogue in Courtly Poetry from Medieval England and Wales
About the talk
About the speaker
Eriks Bredovskis – Nov. 24, 2022
If You Give a German Some Film: Three Sources and the Voyage of the Falke in the Pacific Northwest, 1905
About the Talk
What happens when a German naval captain, who travels around the world, gets his hands on a camera? This paper, taken from one chapter of my dissertation, asks that question. I follow a German cruiser, the Falke, in the Summer of 1905 when it travelled up and down the west coast of North America on a multi-year tour of the Americas. Three sets of documents remain of his voyage: his official reports to the Imperial Naval Office, his private diary, and his scrapbook. Taken separately, each set of documents narrates a very different experience in the Pacific Northwest. The official reports prioritize American and British military and economic expansion—it also portrays the region as void of women and Indigenous people. Behncke’s diary and scrapbook, however, recount the various parties Behncke attended, the landscapes he enjoyed, and the white settlers he met, thus suggesting the west coast as a lively space for socialization and forming global connections, albeit for Europeans. The postcards and personal photographs in Behncke’s scrapbook further show how cultural assumptions (German, masculine, or European) affected what he thought was worth spending valuable film on or be remembered through a commercially purchased postcard. When we look at these sources together, we see how even when Germans were visitors to non-German colonies, they behaved like it was their own. Behncke’s voyages (and these three sets of documents) provides a unique window through which we can examine the making of Germany’s ideas of a globalized and interconnected imperial world.
Colleen McDonell – Feb. 9, 2023
About the talk
For most of Queen Victoria’s reign, domestic servants were the largest category of workers, labouring and often living under the same roofs as their employers. At the same time, Gothic fiction became increasingly domesticated: moving away from the remote pasts and foreign places of eighteenth-century Gothic novels, the genre was projected instead onto more familiar, everyday settings for middle-class British readers. My dissertation analyzes servant characters in Victorian Gothic fiction, arguing that these maids, butlers, and housekeepers are often represented as “mediums” in how they interact with the dead and serve as channels of communication between different social classes. In this talk, I take Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847) and George Eliot’s “The Lifted Veil” (1859) as case studies for exploring this servant-medium dynamic and turn briefly to its depictions in magazines of the period. Studying the servant figure in Victorian Gothic fiction provides insight into theories of non-realist genres as well as (mis)conceptions of domestic labour—conceptions that may continue to haunt contemporary literature.
Colleen McDonell is a Ph.D. candidate in English and the collaborative Book History and Print Culture program. Her dissertation analyzes servants in Victorian Gothic fiction and how these characters can act as “mediums” within the home. More broadly, this work examines domestic space as a nexus between fear and fraught representations of class and labour.
Outside of her research, Colleen has served as the Canadian Graduate Representative for the North American Victorian Studies Association, as a co-convener for the Nineteenth Century Reading Group in the Department of English, and as a printing volunteer at the Massey College Bibliography Room. In her free time, she enjoys painting, practicing yoga, and going on ghost tours.
Hong Liu – March 2, 2023
About the speaker
Hong Liu is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto. Her research traces the entanglement of tragedy and history in early-modern European theatrical culture and intellectual history (1597-1665) by exploring cultural-historical concepts including melancholy and allegory. Her work explores how early-modern theatre's organization of social affects and historical consciousness continues to inform contemporary theorization of sovereignty, freedom, and democracy.
Before starting her PhD study, Hong worked in theatre and publishing. She continues to work as a translator of non-fiction books about art and nature. She is also a volunteer and advocate for reproductive rights and justice.
NFC Annual Lecture: Julie Beth Napolin
About the talk...
This is a talk about the history of sound technology and the racial unconsciousness, and the ways sound technology is implicated in the history of racist violence in America. Technology is part and parcel of the racial unconscious, or what it means to imagine race. My talk touches on literature as it records sounds that other media cannot, both representing the sonic imaginary of racist terror and lynching, while also stepping into future worlds. Drawing on literary cases from William Faulkner and Harlem Renaissance writer Angelina Weld Grimké, I argue for what I call “heterophonia” in literature, wherein it becomes impossible to determine whether a sound has been recorded or is naturally vibrating, and for literature as predicting technologies like the microphone and headphones.
About the Speaker...
Julie Beth Napolin is a scholar, musician, and radio producer. She is the co-President of the William Faulkner Society, a member of the editorial board of Sound Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and a member of the MLA Sound Forum executive committee.
She works across sound, modernism, memory studies, digital humanities, film and media, race, gender and sexuality, narrative and novel theory, and psychoanalysis. She is particularly interested in the history of sound reproduction and its intersections with the history of the novel, art, and film and media, asking what practices of technological listening can tell us about the politics of memory and form. Her essays on sound in the work of Joseph Conrad have been awarded the Bruce Harkness Prize (2013) and the J.H. Stape Conradiana Prize (2020). She completed a PhD in Rhetoric at UC Berkeley with Ramona Naddaff, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Judith Butler, and Carolyn Porter.
The Lecture will be held in-person at Alumni Hall, Old Victoria College Building (91 Charlest St. West). Please email us at email@example.com with any notes on accessibility needs, or if you have any questions about the event.