In the twentieth century there were certain creative individuals, both authors and musicians, who became particularly involved in exploring the relationship between words and music. French author and philosopher Albert Camus (1913-1960); Irish writer, dramatist, and poet Samuel Beckett (1906-1989); American composer and writer John Cage (1912-1992); and Canadian pianist Glenn Gould (1932-1982) all experimented with the interconnections between words and music in various ways. Camus incorporated musical terms and structures in some of his writing; Beckett treated words in a musical manner in some of his plays; Cage experimented with silences and rests in his work and created innovative scores for vocal solos in the Song Books; and in his radio documentaries Gould created complex contrapuntal musical textures with a melange of words and music. Words and Music delves into some of the specific ways these powerhouses of the twentieth century moved beyond the boundaries of tradition and helped to redefine our perception and understanding of words and music in contemporary society. This text offers a unique perspective to scholars, teachers, and students of literature, music, performance, radio, and film, particularly researchers who focus on word and music studies, interdisciplinary studies, cultural studies, twentieth century literature, comparative literature, French literature, Irish literature, American literature, and contemporary and traditional classical music.
Deborah Weagel teaches part-time at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. She holds a bachelor's degree in art, master's degrees in music and French, and a Ph.D. in English. Drawing upon her interdisciplinary background, she has published in a variety of academic journals. She is the author of Women and Contemporary World Literature: Power, Fragmentation, and Metaphor and Interconnections: Essays on Music, Art, Literature, and Gender.