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which shows how difficult it is to assign "literature"a specific position as object of knowledge. which is to make us understand that a strict definition of literature is simply impossible to give. Even if one wants to abandon the idea of an "identity" of literature. and not really before. our ordinary use of the concept "literature"gives an account of practices since the nineteenth century. Literature is certainly more than texts."evading capture in the nets of knowledge. Nevertheless. the crystallization of such a use is the result of a very long process."And perhaps it was not really possible to see this until recently. 1999 . because the institutionalization of literature and its objectification as an object of knowledge has paralleled the very development of our conception of literature since the nineteenth century. The greatest writer of the time was Chaucer. but what can it be? The magnificent development of literary theories over the last thirty years has had at least one edifying consequence. It seems there is a specific resistance of "literature. Strictly speaking. with many inflections.From Music to Literature EricM&choulan A I ONCECAMEACROSS TEXT ENTITLED "HISTORY THEWORLD."since it may at least help us understand why the "object-literature"offers such resistance to theoretical and even historical knowledge. The Role of Music It is well known that one of the major differences between our literary practices and medieval poetical practices lies in the intimate connection of poetry and music in the Middle Ages: not only was almost every poem 42 SubStance#88. who wrote many poems and verse and also wrote literature"! As sometimes happens. I would like to focus on only one of thesethe shift from music to "literature. we can at least give an historical account of the impossibility of finding that identity." OF a collection of students' bloopers. eluding becoming a theoretical "object. this is a clever blooper indeed. One of them runs like this: constituting "In midevil times most of the people were alliterate.
Then time enters in. But this stems from the very mode of music: music cannot occupy the first position because it deals precisely with the relation between heterogeneous positions. since it establishes mathematical proportions. and other kinds of vulgar. deals not only with sacred music. of society and even of the cosmos. For us. 967e). the science of the harmony of time-it founds the just proportions of the different rhythms of beings.and gone throughthe previoustraining. When. with duration. And Jean de Grouchy.521b-c).(Laws. but also our understanding of music. or. Music actually occupies a central place in antique thought because it is able to join both mathematics and astronomy. Music is thus a principle of universal order. claiming that they govern the ordered structure of the cosmos (Timaeus. In the Timaeus.From Music to Literature 43 intended to be performed orally. Yet it is not only our conception of poetry that must be revised. seen the connection of musicwith thesethings. is not able to give a reasonof such thingsas have a reason. For the whole of Antiquity.andharmonized themall with laws and institutions. If the very process of anamnesis is possible (the method of remembrance by which every human being is able to recognize the model. but with the chansonde geste. music plays predominantly the role of a frail emotion of sounds. which then lead to authentic philosophy: the [H]ewho has not contemplated mindof naturewhichis said to existin and the stars. Plato describes the world soul. he does not assign it the highest position: its social standing is beneath the intelligible value of the mathemata(Republic. SubStance#88. he uses the musical ratios discovered by the Pythagoreans as its basic principle. accompanied by instruments. chansonde toile. "une poesie sans musique est comme un moulin sans eau" (poetry without music is like a mill without water).although Plato emphasizes the value of music as good pedagogy for individual and social harmony. to our subjectivity.35b). but they were often sung. of the multiple speeds of planets and stars. Hence music deals with mobility and otherness. directly assigned to our pleasure or distaste-that is. to be more precise.but in a very different way. 1999 . music was concerned with harmony. Its role is as general as that of mathemata. Plato claims that the universe has been created as near to an eternal-and therefore immobile-model as possible: the mathemata the are closest order to this model (37d). break and velocity: music is the science of time. in his De musica. As one trouvereat the end of the thirteenth century says. in the Timaeus. vernacular poetry as well. the emotion of sounds being intimately bound up with the motion of human beings. It is nevertheless true that in the Republic.
but the stoicheion. but em- SubStance#88. of the joint: arariskeinmeans "to join.) Music continues to pervade the whole of Greek society.Rhetoric becomesthe antithesis. and not simply elemental constituents indifferent in nature.a sonorous element where speech is in accord with melody. harmony is precisely the joinery of being. The Indo-European root ar of the Greek armoniarefers to the notion of a just order of the universe. thanks also to a shift by Plotinus. "the grammatical stoicheia were measured tones capable of serial arrangements. This new concept of element can have originated only in music. the just station in the presence. that the element of grammar was not originally the gramma(that is. 9. music played a specific role. as it will be for Christian authors. with musical harmony. because of its harmonic composition. or a vain occupation compared with rhetoric.).44 44 Eric M6choulan the original underlying its empirical copy). although it soon developed into a general word for elements of any type" (551). It will be the charge of Christianity to boost music's fortunes. Since ancient Greek education was less a matter of knowledge than a way of molding and cultivating ethical character. 1999 . for instance. The recurring comparison of the One. is revealing for Plotinus. even though music still plays an important part in the neo-pythagorean philosophy. Aristotle begins to ironize about the inaudible music of the spheres (II.(ibid. the Reason-Principle." as one can join the wooden beams of a house (which is why we find in Vitruvius's book on architecture "the idea that the proportions of a building or of a room would look right to the eye if the dimensions were to be based on the proportions that rule the art of music") (quoted in Chadwick. but armoniacomes also from the idea of articulation. can see in Plato'sTheaetetus the wholemusicalconception how with its classprerogative of leisure and its scorn for the servitudeof practical is occupations taken over by philosophy. [W]iththe decline of the ancientmusicalinstitutionsand their society. Plotinus tries to use a similar conception. But Lippman adds. It is striking to see. but often as an illusory leisure compared with philosophy. the letter). As Edward Lippman has observed. for synchronizing the high and evanescent velocity of the empirical with the essential slowness of the realm of ideas. For Heraclitus. In De caelo.representing illiberal for employment gain. it depends on music for translating. because it permits them to think at once the multiplicity and the symphonics of disparate elements-local heterogeneity and universal harmony. the principle of the exact. 290b 12 ff. 84). We philosophyand rhetoric foughtover the rightof succession.
a tree or a stone). or grass). and only music is able to establish the connection between body and spirit (Boethius says that the joint-compages-of soul and body is none other than a musical harmony [I.From Music to Literature 45 phasizing the union of the One more than the articulations and disarticulations composing the rhythms of Being. and music with multitude relatumad aliud.37a). music is both intellectual judgment and sensuous pleasure. Boethius: Music as Movement I will now focus on Boethius's De institutionemusica. The sense of unity is so impressive in Boethius that for him. But why is it incumbent upon music to play such a role? The other sciences are reasoning too far from the senses: the principle of pleasure is foreign to them. The division of knowledge closely follows the modes of Being. Boethius is the first to have called this division of knowledge the "quadrivium. Geometry deals with immobile magnitudes.1 Of course not everyone is the same: there is a whole relativity of pleasures and musical conveniences (as Plato emphasized in Timaeus.g. the principle of pleasure is none other than the principle of similarity: "when and harmoniously (conwe compare that which is coherently (coaptatum) venienter)joined together in sound-that is. there is no fundamental break between Being and knowledge. extrinsic bodies. or a multitude-a discontinuous and divided unity (e. a population. 1). Pleasure is then connected to morality because it enlightens the principle of unity. for Boethius. An essence can be a magnitude-a continuous and indivisible identity (e.g. 1]). astronomy with mobile magnitudes. it does not explain the relationship between body and soul since it deals only with things in themselves: music alone is able to SubStance#88. as in Heraclitus. There is a kind of "diffusion" of unity at every level of the essences. and the multitudes consist of things in themselves." In the quadrivium. We must notice as well that geometry and astronomy deal only with closed.the key source for the medieval conception of music. The magnitudes consist of immobile or mobile unities. 1999 . or of things in relation to another thing. Moreover. We must understand that. but music is related both to speculation and to morality. arithmetic with multitude per se.music occupies a very specific position. and although arithmetic is in charge of multitudes (the link between universal and particular). The three other sciences are devoted to the search for truth. that which gives us pleasureso we come to recognize that we ourselves are united (compactas) according to this same principle of similarity" (I.
or the multiple to the singular. In order to understand this. Mathematical deployment is an integral part of Boethius's neo-platonic and neo-pythagorean metaphysics.the music of social relations. If the movement is quick.But we must not understand this division in the same way as our own separation of theory and praxis. the MiddleAges was variouslycalledalgorismor computation. 3). speed ratios in the movement of bodies. the musicahumana. In the same way. Music. the note is high. a consonance is composed of heterogeneous sounds. the music of the cosmos.I. and the musica instrumentalis.3. but the event of two different sounds at the same time (1. and they are not allowed to appear" (I. one is speaking of pulse and percussion. but of acknowledging that the principle of similitude. when one speaks of sound. one is actually speaking of movement-or. That is the reason why music can divide itself in three without any problem: the musica mundana. It is not a matter of reducing the other to the same. The difference between the speculative and the practical parallels the difference between form and matter: to use the aristotelian lexis.therewas a sharpdistinction benumbertheoryand practical tween philosophical which in mathematics. is a theory of movement: the relationship is a translation. the music of sounds (the latter is what we would generally call "music"). As Michael Masi has noted. like astronomy. This is why music requires calculations. not because the whole thing is thus. For Boethiusas for the ancientGreeks.46 Eric M&houlan Mechoulan thematize the relation to the other. but because the velocity of the red stripe overcomes the clear parts. if it is slow. the whole top seems dyed with red color. when one speaks of consonance.A consonance is not the meeting of two similar sounds (that would be the reduction of the other to the same). 1999 . 31). the sounds are consonant or dissonant depending on their proportion or disproportion in the synchronization (simul pulsae). an intimacy between the disparate. For Boethius. and when one speaks of these. and you "spin it quickly. more precisely. with As SubStance#88. Boethius gives the following example: when you apply one stripe of red on a spinning top. theory and matter are to the potential what praxis and form are to the actual. Music is what permits us to think the alterity as unity. but you hear only the unity of the sound: music is then the velocity of appearances and their synchronization in the unity of Being. posits a harmony between these different ratios. the note is low. while recognizing the difference between the proportions of the bodies. one is speaking of sound. The whole of medieval learning follows this double trajectory of musicaspeculativaand musicapractica.
he neglects their juxtaposition and their disjunction inside of a singular"univocal" and assumesanotherkind of experience pluralityin the simultaneousvoices. or poetical theoretical). The New Analysis of Music It is in such a new tuning of knowledge that music will soon lose its speculative function.4 Like the clock.3 At the end of the fourteenth century Evrart de Conty registers the idea as a pure rhetorical figure. replaces the old musical organization. the three boethian musics are revoked by Jean de Grouchy as early as the fourteenth century: only instrumental music is taken into account. polyphony implies another way of experiencing time.aut poeticasivefactivaet artificialis. which is but one residue of the cyclical conception of time. theoryand practicecame to be united in the treatisesof the late medievalperiod. music he makesis henceforth The analyzable and mentally reversible..From Music to Literature music. est theorica" (Every or fictitious and artificial. clock-time is quickly understood as an instrument of power: the urban clock rules the workers' time. a pluralitymade of interrelations.2 Hence praxis is never only the application of a theory. the gregorian "plain-chant" withdraws in favor of polyphony (which is both religious and profane).). or science is either practical or moral. At the same time. measurable and architectural. In fact. since time has now a spatial dimension (like the roundness of the clock. metric. but a distance between subject and object that yields knowledge. which is vertical). musicianneglectsthe diversityand the pluralityof the concretetimes (. it passes from the priest's hands to those of the merchant and to the power of the state. In a similar way. a mere shape. As Gerard Le Vot has noted: the Henceforth.(13) 47 It is enough to remember Albert the Great's claim in order to recognize another kind of opposition between theory and praxis: "Omnisscientia aut aut practicasive moralis. Plato and Boethius becomes unnamable in the name of Physics. (139) SubStance#88. Such a conception requires a whole different setting and modelling of knowledge: not a unity and a harmony any more. Music already goes toward the mere instrumental function in Aristotelian Arabic philosophy: the idea of the "music of the spheres" so dear to Pythagoras. and quantitative clock-time supersedes the more elastic church-time: the measurement of time is now divorced from religion. 1999 . tensionsand concordances. and theory never only a speculation on one praxis. which is conceptual. or as in polyphonic writing. A new temporality..
. ja soit ce que ce soient.whereas..an encyclopedic gloss where music plays a noticeable part. in accordance with a constrained flow of time. Calculation had been the favorite expression of unity amidst multiplicity. But this new way of constraining oneself presents certain difficulties.. the truth.. seems to be dissociated from sounds.. selon la verit6.) n'en peuent estre percevables au sens.) Et de ce met Boece un exemple de la toupie (. comesand goes. Et pour ce samble ce estre un seul son.. 1999 . It is henceforth an enthusiastic search for harmonious diversity. We can see such a shift in Evrart de Conty's Glosedes echecsamoureux.) And concerning this Boethius gives the example of the spinning-top (.one sees for the first time the instrumental transcrip- SubStance#88.. In a fourteenth-century manuscript of a kyrie. Closely related to song. as it is demonstrated in perspective.. but to show innumerable multiples and the pure semblance of unity-not the enigma of two voices accorded in one consonancy. In the words of Machaut's famous motet. for example in the relations between music and poetry. innumerables sons (.) Et c'est pour ce qu'il est necessite naturelment a ce que la veue se puist faire deuement et distinctement qu'il y ait temps sensible ouquel la chose visible se puist souffisamment monstrer a la veue. even though such a movement cannot actually be heard. but no longer in order to show the fusion of appearances and being according to velocity in the harmony of a consonancy. though. "My end is my beginning.) And that is why it is obviously necessary that we have sensible time in order to see rightly and distinctly one visible thing.48 48 Eric M&houlan Mechoulan Formal research on musical writing has been substituted for speculative music.. but the stubborn and unperceivable multiplicity of just one sound: la corde fremit et tremble et va et vient a destre et a senestre si insensiblement que les reiteracionsdes mouvemens (. Evrarttakes again Boethius's example of the spinning-top.on the rightandon theleft. poetry usually embellishes music. becoming less and less understandable. This effect is intensified since voices and instruments tend to distantiate themselves from one another. the constraint of time spatially brought to a standstill and then revived through games of writing. The polyphonic text. to according The very word "perspective" implies this spatial context where time can only henceforth appear. there are innumerable sounds (. And thatis why it seemsthatthereis justone sound. and my beginning is my end"-the meaning of the song duplicates itself in the mirror of the backward movement of the musical lines. si comme il est en perspective demonstr.5 Thecordquiversandtrembles. so insensibly that the reiterations of the movements cannot be perceived. but only seen on the page.
knowledge is not immediately related to the modes of being.7The first thing he does is to situate poetry in comparison to music-that is. This opposition is reprised in the eighteenth century by Vincent de Beauvais and by Raimond Lulle. must define its own status. Poetry dissociates itself from song just as instrumentation dissociates itself from voice. but becomes an epistemology. the "natural" cannot-it is too fugacious. 1999 . while Deschamps considerably modifies the distinction: natural music prevails over artificial music because although one can learn the latter. thus vision supersedes orality. no longer knows music. He places poetry inside music but grants it a natural virtue as opposed to the artificiality of instruments (including the voice). the former "ne puet estre aprinse" (cannot be learned). the tenth-century historian of Arabic music.et parli fut compasse astrologie haulteet la basse. Deschamps opposes nature to such a knowledge. We can understand this curious reversal only if we keep in mind that by the fourteenth century.8the dichotomy of natural and artificial is mentioned in reference to Euclid. but while artificial music can be understood. And although they both may still be in view. Eustache Deschamps. which is by that time more and more autonomous. knowledge does not have the same meaning as in Boethius's time. This is one of the purposes of the "arts of second rhetoric" which flourish during the fifteenth century. Poetry Independent of Music Deschamps writes in 1392 the first reflection in vernacular on French poetry: l'Art de dictier.et toutes SubStance#88. Poetry.From Music to Literature 49 tion on the right-hand page and the vocal parts on the left:6 this spatial arrangement of the page is like a visual mark of the differentiation. At the end of the fourteenth century. Al-Farabi. who la le mesurale premier coursdu firmament les cerclesdes planetes. terre.c'est la a diretonus. When this happens. the disciple of Machaut. the voice can no longer carry over the distance. grants a similar distribution. The advantage is twofold: poetry gains from music and from nature at the same time. Poetry gains its validity through an oppositionto knowledge. nature remains synchronous with Being for a short period of time: nature is the expression of God. Thus praxis and theory as objects and subjects of knowledge are on either side of a widening abyss. In one fifteenth-century anonymous art of rhetoric. et et en trousvant cesteoeuvretrouvala mesurede la musiqueet les tons. to recover music's learned aura without losing poetry's newly acquired specificity.
to the modern state. excepte mesure de parler. which is above all legal. the jongleurnever speaks for himself or about himself. The very notion of gift/talent becomes tautological.) ne lui sqauroit aprendre se de son propre et naturel mouvement ne se faisoit. but medicinal: delectable les cuers et esperis de ceuls qui auxdiz ars par pensee.) ainsi comme la medicine des VII ars [car] par sa melodie SubStance#88."10 Such a tautology of the natural appears also in Evrart de Conty who writes. As an "entertaining medicine. 1999 .. plus habilesapresa estudieret labourer autres aux VIars." meaning poetry has a musicality of its own and does not require further arrangement. which plays more the role of doctor to the political body. the jongleur is replaced by the Musique est (.sont et medicinezet recreez. previously the domain of God alone.) Deschamps insists also.9 The human learning process is opposed to the gift of God. he is only the locumby which society is able to speak itself-the music of its memory.. can be "former. Deschamps's "natural music" must be read against the background of diverse historical struggles: French against Latin. And he adds that the poet does not need to know the musical numbers in order to compose verses: "vient come de nature a ceux naturelement enclins" (verses come naturally to those naturally inclined. In this sense. pesanset ennuiez. on the specificity of music. ce que nul (. like Boethius. mais elle vient de Dieu et de sapience plaine de bonte et de courtoise. When this memory begins to collapse. et comment homme depuis qu'il se met naturelement a ce faire.that poetry is "sound music. nation state against catholic powernatural music is music of the vulgar.. the social standing of mechanical arts (including medicine) and the very notion of labor has increased." natural music is actually in the service of labor. the shift anticipates the passage from the medieval state. but unlike for Boethius.12 With the economic expansion of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. as one can see in Deschamps's Art de dictier: "De ceste musique naturele. music is no longer moral.50 Eric Mechoulan M&houlan aultres mesures. lay against clerical." substituted the verb "cr6er"[to create]. The jongleur moves in a physical as well as a social geography: he brings here and there news and common knowledge. he sings the unity of culture. in the musical part of his Glosedes echecsamoureux. just as the minstrel (whose name comes from ministerialis-state or civil servant) is at the service of his lord.11 From morality to medicine. et ymaginaison laboursde brasestoienttraveilliez.. To the verb which refers in Machaut to the poet's way of working.
except as both constative and performative. 1999 .From Music to Literature 51 minstrel: the voice of a particular person. be it his patron or eventually the poet himself. merchant and political economy. Literature actually moves between theory and practice. is only able to play with this gap in the relaxing innovation of the recreer/recreer. Literature appears then as a vulgarization of music. it cannot be described in the system. literature will offer rest. a secular way to accord or to synchronize the speeds of appearance in the vivacity of exchange. indeed. leisure. It is clear that literature is not at rest at all. and the poetical. reading is compromised in a world playing on the diverse voices of culture. nor spiritually united by waiting of a blessed eschatology. The Ambivalence of "Literature" Poetry must find another kind of legitimation in the orb of the old powers-that is. in the gap formed between appearances and being-a gap called "fiction. but offers an effect of rest with regard to the labors of the intellectual."In a world no longer temporally united by a religious power. escapes the dichotomy between theory and praxis because it operates as the "rest"in the laborious calculations of exchanges. We see then its specific situation in the ambivalence of Deschamps's "recreez": since writing has no accent yet. I would like to take one last example. a place where velocities can be changed or exchanged. set apart. and re-creation. as This very ambivalence is the allegory of a new idiom that we come to know under the name of "literature. more than in the constancy of being. in music or rhetoric. henceforth. so to speak. Theory and praxis are face to face. perhaps to be considered as one last allegory. because it is. The last romance of the Arthurian cycle SubStance#88. the word can mean "to entertain" (recrder) well as "to re-create" (recreer). Knowledge can no longer maintain "from the inside" the harmony of appearances and being. in principle." An Allegory of the Fate of Music In conclusion. In the ratios of velocity it was possible to read unity in multiplicity and being in appearances. Here is the explanation of the tautological appearance of the "natural": since it is one of the elements of production of the whole system. The emerging literature will exist in the locus of non-knowledge which. it valorizes their distance.
his role consists of singing and commenting upon Arthur's adventures. In his second adventure. in order to prove himself worthy of his role. but the character of the parrot is a most unusual one. and subsequently even a whole city. Far from being the zenith of the great allegories of the quest for the Grail. being more and more reduced to a single nomination. the cycle harked back to its origins. "Literature"offers itself as the mode for unit- SubStance#88. this seems an ironization of the quest and of the courtly tradition: the romantic ideal is tainted with a satire of the fabliau. of course. from the first half of the fourteenth century.has spawned many continuations which have emphasized the allegorical quest for the Grail. He cannot be identified with Arthur. drawing from the roots of the cycle. Since the end of the thirteenth century. delivering the sermon at this strange mass. nameless giant as a conquest of the civilized over bestiality.52 Eric M&houlan EricMechoulan was most probably written at the very beginning of the fifteenth century: le au Chevalier papegau(the knight with the parrot).But I think there is a last allegory here: the allegory of the fate of music. On the other hand. The reference to Chretien's tale Yvain ou le chevalierau lion is quite obvious. His adventures follow a fine crescendo: he saves one lady. talk. force and kingship. but also sing and even prophesy. adjuvant and identification. The cosmological music that deals with ethics and the universe is now reduced to the songs of praise of a parrot. It is well known that this cycle. since in it Arthur has just been crowned. But the satire is wedded to the praise. then hundreds of knights and ladies. as well as his own name and title: he becomes merely an anonymous knight. he claims the right to the first adventure coming to his court. the romance focuses only on Arthur. tle parrot plays a very minor part. helping Yvain in his struggles: he is Yvain's emblem. The Chevalierau papegau participates in this retrieval. Thus Arthur's legendary immobility disappears. Jean de Conde's Messe des oiseaux (The Birds' Mass). and thus the allegory of the adventure begins to be the adventure of the intertwining of discourses and of allegorical fragmentation. In the bestiary tradition. who is the commentator on the state and civilization's achievements. inaugurated by Chr6tien with his unfinished romance Percevalou le conte du Graal. 1999 . In it. only one small example is known. As a new king. Arthur's final adventure permits him to bring back to his court a wild. the lion is the allegory of power. The parrot never helps Arthur (he is far too cowardly). in Chretien's tale it has an effective role. he receives a prize: a parrot which can. he is useless as an emblem. King Arthur has always played the part of the originator and ultimately the judge of the quests. Unlike the main quests. the parrot is Venus's messenger.
Second. each present must also be other than what it is. SubStance#88. literature seems to disclose certain historical logics at work in a given society. and it can do so precisely because it has been granted an entertainment status with no strong social implications. the moment of the present must be opaque to itself. or New Mode for Uniting the Disparate? Literature seems to emerge as the vulgarization and subjectivation of music. But what about the specific resistance to knowledge? It comes from the fact that literature moves between theory and practice. and in the very mobilization of topical figures and roles. literature is a way of offering the multiplicity of the discourses. between leisure and creation. Literature: Object of Knowledge. it is this very status that invalidates its speculative power. Nevertheless. but it is impossible to assign it any specific place in social discourses. which is why we need experts in the interpretation of the past. Music was a way of contemplating the harmony of the universe. First. same practice) is actually radically different-so different that it is almost ungraspable by us in the present. and as a way to mobilize heterogeneous discourses and synchronize them in the process of its discursivity. Because of its recreation and free use of contemporaneous or past discourses. Certainly there is knowledge at work in literary productions. If we can historicize the ways literature was conceived of (and institutionalized). there is certainly no "history of happiness. in the timing of its discourse. but it is circulating at the very borders of the cultural and the discursive. the present must be something other than the past. literature must be understood in terms of time and not space: literature not only is moving. 1999 . same institution. meaning that it must not be able to understand itself without mediation." Historical investigation rests on two principles of otherness. but to happiness. between appearances and being. an often devalorized pastime that leads (or is supposed to lead) not to wisdom. as a way to use fictitious stories where true-life experiences can be enjoyed and learned. as a heir of music. and the task of historical discourse is to show us how what seems the same (same concept. a valuable leisure activity that would lead to wisdom.From Music to Literature 53 ing the disparate. It seems then impossible to give a definition of literature. because it would assume the possibility to fix it in delimited borders. and therefore any legitimacy.
" Universite Montreal de SubStance#88. When Adorno he criticizes Benjamin in a famous letter about his project of Passagenwerk. But of course it seems to compromise knowledge." testifies that he was not at all blind to the link. This is what he calls. A dialectical image must be a lightning image. can't we recognize the very mode of literature? The fact that Benjamin decided to use. after all." which should be nothing. as Agamben has remarked. 1999 . He clearly saw that the perfect model available for framing or staging effects of immediacy was literature. Historical materialism looks then for those present moments where the has-been can meet the now. Adorno is right in his remark. since knowledge rests on a process of mediation. historical materialism does not construct the past as radically different from the present along the line of temporality (progression). which are none other than epistemological effects. a dialectic at rest. This runs counter to any historical investigation. paradoxically. can be immediately actualized in order to be saved. as a method. We can briefly turn to Walter Benjamin to solve our problem. "literary montage.54 Eric Mechoulan M6choulan which is why we need experts in the clarification and enlightenment of "past presents. For Benjamin. but. draws Benjamin's attention to the insoluble problem of missing the process of mediation between infrastructure and superstructure. implying an immediacy of actualization. since it looks like immediate knowledge (where there should be a process of mediation) and a knowledge of the present (where the present should remain opaque to itself). but "love of language. No history of literature then? It depends on us to build a history attentive to effects of immediacy. but blind to Benjamin's understatement that the relationship between infrastructure and superstructure is not the cause of a process of mediation. Such a history would certainly need the help of what Benjamin calls "philology. but tries to show the "actualization"of the has-been in the now. an immediate identity. But in this process of synchronization and curious neutralization of dialectical process." experts in mediation and knowledge who can give an account of the opaqueness of these presents. But here the problem with the construction of literature is that one considers literature as an immediate knowledge of its present moment.
. SubStance#88. 1974 . L'harmoniedes spheres: et d'astronomie de musiqueextraitedu commentaire LesEchecsamoureux sur Encyclopedie (XVe s. 272: "this natural music and how one is naturally to perform it.Paris:Gallimard. Paris:P. G. 6. ed.LamusiParis:Librairieorientaliste." 11. Boethius. Translation the Principlesof Music: an Introduction. E. mars 1990. quearabe. Eustache Deschamps. Trans. Bower. 1867. He numbered high and low astrology. Cf.Frankfurtam Main:Peter Lang.Theology. 5. Lipsiae. Giorgio. XXIII. Cf.. 11-103. Al-Farabi. the earth. ed. 262. vol."VoxRomanica. Boethius: Consolations Music.p. Recueild'arts de seconderhetorique. Raynaud. Quoted by Marc-ReneJung.. p. Didot. imagining or laboring by hand.travailet cultureen Occident. Paris:F. all translations are my own. 3. Cf. Friedlein. George Peabody College for Teachers. Y. Vol. 8. Cf. 4. p." 10. Pour un autreMoyen Age: temps. WORKSCITED et de et Agamben. Maryse Ponchard-Hyatte. Aristotle. Ernest Langlois. Geneva: Slatkine reprints. "Music is the medicine of the seven arts because the hearts and spirits of those who have worked in the arts by thinking. p. De caelo. except the measure of speaking. 1981. 1. who "was the first to measure the course of the firmament and the circles of the planets.. p. 22. Boethius's and Commentary. Philosophy. I. Histoiremusicaledu MoyenAge. Ibid. De institutionemusica. 30. Enfance histoire: deperissement l'experience originede l'histoire. VII. are soothed and entertained [or re-created] by its delectable melody. G. eds. and Plato's break between theoria and praxis. feeling heavy and annoyed. 9. 1984. 40: Euclid.F. Jacques Le Goff. of Oxford: Clarendon Press. Hersant. cannot be learned by his own volition if naturalmovement does not incline him to do so." 12.From Music to Literature Literature From Music 55 55 NOTES Unless otherwise indicated.) attribuea Evrartde Conty. and in finding that he found the measure of music and the tones. Henry."Grandtrait6de la musique. 1985. 50.. 1978. Reginald Hyatte.Ed. p. cit. Cf. 2. 6-16. op. Jacques Chailley. pp. Deschamps. more skilled after that to study and labor in the other six arts. 1989. "Poetria:zur Dichtungstheorie des ausgehenden n? Mittelaltersin Frankreich. The English translationappeared in a dissertation:Calvin M. Logic." Etudeslitteraires. Paris:Payot. because that comes from God and from wisdom full of goodness and courtesy. The and Chadwick.U. 1966. 1891." in Rodolphe d'Erlanger. 1999 . This division follows Aristotle's differentiation between praxis and poiesis in the Nicomachean Ethics. and every other kind of measure. 7. my paper "Lamusique du vulgaire: arts de rhetorique et constitution de la litteratureau XVe si&cle. Oeuvrescompletes. 1930.
56 Eric Mechoulan Eric M6choulan Ed. Michael. London:J. 1999 . and trad. Didot. in the System of Liberal Arts. MA: Harvard University Press. Larue. Shorey. Republic. J. Nombredu temps:en hommage Paul Zumthor. A. 1953. New York:Pendragon Press. Edward A. 1988. Paris: F.New York:Arno Press.ed. P. .Berne:Peter Lang. Laws.Ed. . Arts:a Collection Essays. SubStance#88. Le Vot. "The Place of Music Music:A Birthday Medievaland Renaissance Offeringto GustaveReese. Archer-Hind.E. Oeuvrescompletes.Dent. Boethius theLiberal of 1981. Eustache." Le a Paris:Champion. and Masi. Taylor. G.Ed." Aspectsof Lippman.M. Raynaud. ed. Timaeus. vol. "Considerations sur le temps et la musique au Moyen Age. VII. and trad. 1960. Plato.. 1973. Deschamps.Ed. Cambridge. D. and trad. 1891. Gerard. 1978.