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Comparative Literature and Culture
Comparative Literature and Culture 2125A/B

Comp Lit Lecture – Wednesday Jan N Movie – Farinelli “a creature without a balls, neither man nor woman” castrato – boys castrated at a young age to keep soprano voice, life devoted to music first recording technology – wax cylinder – early 1900's audio technology only about a century old musical scores much older than recording – can be interpreted, but not very old either europe – baroque – system of writing music and scores, but nothing before all cultures had music, cast in its own time, didn't lend itself to reproduction music now is creative, but not creative in the sense of originality the idea of original performance is gone for us – we are in the age of repetition and sameness Farinelli makes the case for an individual to be bodily sacrificed in order to be musically individual and unique – divine - in order to be a true artist you have to be to some extent inhuman, monstrous, alienated from the standard – castrato appears to be asexual – unable to reproduce – capable of intercourse – cannot have offspring, entire future is now, musical, on stage association between castrato and the angel – angels represented as little kids called putti with curly hair, sweet, androgynous – angels have no sex two kinds of unnaturalizing sexual difference 1) both characteristics of male and female – hermaphrodite – from hermes 2) castrato Farinelli looks like an hermaphrodite – but swooning women (groupies) puts him in false position sexually speaking as this gives him divine manhood but he isn't fully man − any act of high art is built on sacrifice – not only legends but historical records show commissions for someone to build a church after which a band of thugs to blind the architect (hired by employer) so they can't build another church more beautiful than this one – sacrifice after the fact − Farinelli's voice comes from being abnormal – for being castrated – only redemption for getting out of his main body – in the high art that is his music is his salvation/redemption without any help of gods or churches − logic of sacrifice becomes a logic of excess – overdoses – jimmy hendrix, janice joplin, jim morrison – much less of this today – technology mediates between artist – technology becomes part of us – makes us cyborgs by replacing part of us with itself − Farinelli - human ability greater than technology – greater than trumpet – this is gone − living in an age of numbers – how many people buy – numbers kill quality – brutally displaces quality – lowers art so it can be sold to everyone − living in a flat world – progressively flattened by numbers – everything can be replaced by everything else − Farinelli based on true performance, true originality – doesn't mean much to us anymore POWERPOINT languages where gender differences are very apparent – romance languages – french, spanish, neutered has grammatical qualities o
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