The Composer as Intellectual: Music and Ideology in France 1914-1940

The Composer as Intellectual: Music and Ideology in France 1914-1940

The Composer as Intellectual: Music and Ideology in France 1914-1940

The Composer as Intellectual: Music and Ideology in France 1914-1940

Synopsis

As a follow-up to her book exploring musical and political cultures in France from the Dreyfus Affair to the First World War, Jane Fulcher now applies the same approach to the years from 1914-1940, arguing that French musical meanings are best explained not in terms of artistic movements, but rather in terms of the political culture.

Excerpt

The Artist as Intellectual?

Ever since Julien Benda's impassioned indictment of apostate intellectuals in La trahison des clercs (1927), there has largely been consensus on the intellectual's true "charge." Edward Said, for example, concurs with Benda that the intellectual attempts to be "the conscience of mankind," implacably and courageously upholding "eternal standards of truth and justice." Inherent in this conception is the intellectual's oblivion to both professional and material advantage: acting as moral adjudicator, the intellectual speaks out publicly, and regardless of the consequences. Perpetually vigilant, he or she intrepidly exposes half-truths, received ideas, faulty logic, or empty rhetoric—integrally including that dispensed by "power."

These associations, of course, developed originally in the period of the Dreyfus affair, which Benda himself experienced, and which helped to solidify the social rubric "intellectual." For by the later 1890s, amid efforts to establish the innocence of a Jewish army officer accused of treason, the essential characteristics of the then derisively labeled "intellectuals" emerged. They were in search of truth, based upon empirical or verifiable fact, and concomitantly insisted upon justice for all, established by the basic principle of the French Revolution. in doing so they negated "raison d'Etat," or blind credence in the nation and its in-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.