Will Self on the Symphony and the Novel

Self talks about the historical development of literature and classical music
Gustav Mahler. Photograph: Picture-Alliance/Österr
On The Guardian website, Will Self traces the development of the novel alongside that of the musical symphony. For two hundred years the two artistic forms appear analogous to one another: 'The search for motifs, or themes, the creation of an alternative world in words, the struggle for authenticity of narrative voice, the counterpointing of different protagonists' views – these are key artistic objectives shared by the novelist and the symphonist, and not to anything like the same degree by other musical and literary practitioners. Indeed, I'd go further: the symphonist and the novelist have more in common with each other than they do with others working in their own respective art forms. ' But whereas music could be argued to have exceeded the symphonic form, moving into greater realms of experimentation, Self suggests that literature remains stalled in the past. Self is appearing at the Notes & Letters festival at Kings Place at 5pm on Saturday 8 October. [Read More]

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