Literature’s listening spaces
Representations of music listening in two contemporary novels
Literary descriptions of music are – of course – pure fi ction. However, such narratives are also windows into the phenomenological and sociological workings of music in modern society. Many novels share detailed descriptions of music in their fi ctional worlds, and this article examines what two contemporary novels reveal about modern-day music listening as both a cultural and private practice. The article will analyse the nature of ‘listening spaces’ represented in A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (2010) and Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (2005). Both novels have been published within the fi rst decade of the 21st century and describe Western popular music. Music experienced by fi ctional characters can be valuable empirical data, because novels represent different listening situations varied by geography, epochs and genres, and they depict characters with different demographics, lives and musical/cultural backgrounds. This enables scholars to collect and compare multi-faceted datasets. The aim of this article is to use literary descriptions to ask qualifi ed questions about sociological and phenomenological aspects of contemporary music listening practices. The analysis will focus on the atmosphere of listening (Böhme, 2017) – and especially the fi ctional listeners’ bodily presence in musical spaces – in dialogue with sociological studies of music listening by especially Tia DeNora (2000), David Hesmondhalgh (2013) and Even Ruud (2013). The analysis indicates how fi ction articulates a connection between music, body (in space and place) and mind (emotions, temporality and memory).
Brown, C.S. (1949). Music and literature: A comparison of the arts. Athens, Georgia.
Böhme, G. (2017). The Aesthetics of Atmospheres. In: J.-P. Thibaud (ed.). doi:10.4324/9781315538181 https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781315538181
Clarke, E., Dibben, N., & Pitts, S. (2009). Music and mind in everyday life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
DeNora, T. (2000). Music in everyday life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Edgecombe, R.S. (1993). Melophrasis: Defi ning a Distinctive Genre of Literature/Music Dialogue. Mosaic: a journal for the interdisciplinary study of literature, 26(4), 1. Retrieved from http://www.jstor. org/stable/24780478 http://www.jstor.org/stable/24780478
Egan, J. (2010). A Visit from the Goon Squad. London: Corsair.
Hesmondhalgh, D. (2013). Why music matters. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons.
Kramer, L. (1990). Music as cultural practice, 1800-1900. Berkeley: University of California Press. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/2027/heb.06264 https://hdl.handle.net/2027/heb.06264
Lefebvre, H. (2004). Rhythmanalysis: space, time and everyday Life. London: Continuum.
Lefebvre, H. (2005). The production of space. Oxford: Blackwell.
Lise Karin, M. (2019). Jubel og Kjærlighed, Fortvivlelse og Vanvid, Alt laa i dette tonende Væld. Studia Musicologica Norvegica, (1), 47-60. doi:10.18261/issn.1504-2960-2019-01-05
Meyer, L.B. (1961). Emotion and meaning in music. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Mitchell, W.J.T. (1994). Ekphrasis and the Other. In: Picture theory: essays on verbal and visual representation (pp. 151-181). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Moling, M. (2016). ‘No Future’: Time, Punk Rock and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad. Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory, 72(1), 51-77. doi:10.1353/ arq.2016.0000
Murakami, H. (2005). Kafka on the shore (J.P. Gabriel, Trans.). London: Harvill.
Ricoeur, P. (1999). Time and Narrative. Vol. 2. In: McLaughlin, K., & Pellauer, D. (eds.). Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/2027/heb.04912https://hdl.handle.net/2027/heb.04912
Riedel, F., & Torvinen, J. (2020). Music as atmosphere: collective feelings and affective sounds. London:
Rodriguez, C.X. (2014). Music Listening Spaces. In: Barrett, J.R., & Webster, P.R. (eds.), The musical experience: rethinking music teaching and learning (pp. 88-102). New York: Oxford University Press.
Ruud, E. (2013). Musikk og identitet (2nd ed.). Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.
Schafer, R.M. (1973). The music of the environment. Universal Edition.
Smyth, G. (2008). Music in contemporary British fi ction: listening to the novel. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Solie, R.A. (2004). Music in Other Words: Victorian Conversations. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.10.1525/9780520930063 https://hdl.handle.net/2027/heb.05545
Strong, M.J. (2018). Found time: Kairos in A Visit from the Goon Squad. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 59(4), 471-480. doi:10.1080/00111619.2018.1427544 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/ full/10.1080/00111619.2018.1427544
Vilmar, T.W. (2020). ‘It’s in the silence you feel you hear’ Music, literature, and melophrasis. Orbis Litterarum. doi:10.1111/oli.12276
Wasihun, B. (2014). The Name ‘Kafka’: Evocation and Resistance in Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore. MLN, 129(5), 1199-1216. doi:10.1353/mln.2014.0101 https://www.jstor.org/stable/ 24463609?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents
Wattanagun, K., & Chotiudompant, S. (2009). The Quest and Reconstruction of Identity in Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore. MANUSYA, 12(1), 26-39. doi:10.1163/26659077-01201003 https://brill.com/view/journals/mnya/12/1/article-p26_3.xml?language=en
Wolf, W. (1999). The musicalization of fi ction: a study in the theory and history of intermediality. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
Wood, G.D.A. (2010). Romanticism and music culture in Britain, 1770-1840: virtue and virtuosity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Yeung, V. (2016). Time and Timelessness: A Study of Narrative Structure in Murakami Haruki’s Kafka on the Shore. Mosaic (Winnipeg), 49(1), 145-160. doi:10.1353/mos.2016.0000 https://www.jstor.org/stable/44030501?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents
How to Cite
The journal allow the author(s) to hold the copyright without restrictions. The journal allows the author(s) to retain publishing rights without restrictions.