PJAS 10-2

Alicja Piechucka
The Sound of Silence: Saint Cecilia and Celestial Music in Hart Crane
and Stéphane Mallarmé

Polish Journal for American Studies, vol. 10 (2016), pp. 23-36


The article examines Hart Crane’s and Stéphane Mallarmé’s approaches to music as exemplified by two poems: the former’s “Sonnet” and the latter’s “Saint.” Linked by the figure of Saint Cecilia, the patroness of music, the two works do more than just explore similar motifs. In fact, both are aesthetic statements on the role of music in verse, on the poet’s predicament and on a certain concept of poetry rooted in the symbolist-modernist continuum, of which Crane’s oeuvre is an example. My analysis takes into account Boethius’s and Kepler’s theories of music, Platonism, with which symbolist poetry is inextricably linked, the concept of pure poetry and the notion of the music of the spheres, central to both poems.

Keywords: Hart Crane, Stéphane Mallarmé, American modernism, French symbolism, poetry, music, Platonism, pure poetry

DOI: 10.7311/PJAS.10/2016.02

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