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Complete Modernism & the Arts I/Perspectives II Notes: Part 2 -- 4.0ed the final exam!

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UNAS 1104

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MODERNISM FALL FINAL 1. Discuss the main themes in The Waste Land, Ash Wednesday, and Four Quartets. The Wasteland: • Death; Life has no deeper meaning; people are spiritually dead and move through lives emotionally isolated and like zombies • Knight seeking restoration of a wasteland to life and fertility (value might be possible) • Sex as merely physical • Love is destructive (Tristan and Isolde, Hyacinth girl, Anthony and Cleopatra) • Elements Ash Wednesday: • Desert, spiritual dryness • Narrator fighting hope and despair • Passage of time and old age • Estrangement from God, journey to religious conversion • Experiencing time in particular places and spaces, passing of opportunity for love • 3 Leopards; need to be purged of things that get in the way of salvation and hope (3 dreams)  Mary Four Quartets: • places names express moments of time; must be in particular time and place to experience the divine • Time as memory, Time as cyclical, Time as flux, Time as revelation. Dialectic between time and eternity • Elements • What then is time? Cannot understand the whole picture of our lives • Falling from God, exile, temptation (impossible for many of us to align our wills with Gods) • Purification, getting closer to God but still can fail (love and redemption possible) 2. Pick one of the Four Quartets. Describe and exemplify how the mood of the poem progresses and develops through the poem’s various sections. Explain the meaning of the key images in the poem, especially images of earth, air, fire, and water. The Dry Salvages • Ominous, traveling through time (life) not sure of what direction you are headed; o Cape Ann, MA represents past time and water o Mississippi River- cannot be tamed, reference to how humans try to control nature through science, time moving forward • Sense of hope and purpose; o tolling bell is a call to death but also a call to prayer, but die to yourself to be rid of all things that get in the way of salvation (eternal and finite time) • Conversion, transformative o “the unprayable prayer”- it is too frightening to transform our lives fundamentally and stop relying on “of what was believed in as the most reliable” (material possession, clinging attachments) o to align our wills with what God is asking us is almost impossible for many of us o The bitter apple and the bite in the apple- garden of Eden, original sin o superficial notions of evolution- science and evolution theories separate man from truly understanding the past • Unpredictable o always possibility conversion will fail and future will not get better o Hindu god Krishna- need to follow the divine will instead of seeking personal gain, death can come at any time, understand the divine by prayer and power of the Holy Spirit • Sorrowful but hopeful o Prayer to Virgin Mary for fishermen, sailors, and the drowned o The sea’s bell, perpetual angelus- Annunciation will give mankind hope to escape being trapped in time, tolling bell calling you to life out of death o gift half understood- the gift of the incarnation o through Christ corruption and time can be overcome; by dying out of love you join the eternal 3. Explain how Tiresias is the central and unifying voice for all the characters in The Wasteland. • Tiresias has been both male and female and can therefore encompass all viewpoints (gift of prophecy) • He is the overarching voice because he has known all and experienced all oHas seen both destroyed and fertile lands, has seen souls in hell, past and present • In scene with the typist he is like narrator; witness to how sex has been degraded and become devoid of love and purpose • Claims all life is the same; dialectic between narrator’s hope for a world of meaning 4. How are the elemental symbols of earth, air, fire and water employed in all three works of Eliot? How do the uses of these symbols contribute to the meaning and purpose of the poems as a whole? The Wasteland • Symbols of earth, air, fire, and water in different sections represent emotional responses to the physical world; can be sources of life and destroyers of life • Water- symbolizes life, baptism, purification) water is dangerous and destructive o Dialectic relation: giver of life bringer of death o destructive but transformative o “Death By Water”- Phlebas the Phoenician sailor is drowned by the sea • Air- (need it to breathe, represents desperation, tension, madness) air is a bringer of life and creating a form of spiritual death o transfiguring song in voice of swallow, and madness in the song of Ophelia o “A Game of Chess”- the “wind under the door” woman is talking to man who refuses to address her needs and she feels alone and abandoned and alienated (desperation) • Earth- protective, growth/nourishment, grounded, aware of being a natural being • Destructive side earthquakes, can be buried in the ground, association of life and death, barren earth • Generation and death, breeding and decay • “The Burial of the Dead”  “Winter kept us warm” is an oxymoron dialectic between winter which kept him warm and April which should be a lot warmer  winter metaphor for way narrator could suppress his deepest desires and not think of past chances missed • Fire- warmth, heat, light but is physically destructive, power • Spiritually it is life giving, soothes your natural brain waves, Christian notion of the holy spirit (purification) • sterile burning of lust—fire of purgation, purification • “The Fire Sermon”- scene with the typist, degradation of human relationships, man’s “vanity requires no response” Ash Wednesday • Earth- Juniper tree is symbol of resurrection o Yew trees- traditionally found in church gardens symbol of death/resurrection, sorrow one must go through to be redeemed o Desert- spiritual dryness, brown land (shriveled individual spiritual life)  last desert that is the last act of purification before you move beyond the mouth of hell (reference to the Wasteland)  rose of memory, rose of forgetfulness: Mary is called the mystical rose because rose is symbol of love, Mary’s loved and trust in God and what God was saying to her and her willingness to be open to God’s actions o Garden- original sin, temptation (the desert in the garden can represent their temptation) • Earth is altered to wind partly because the listening wind is associated with the spirit inspiring the prophet. • Four Quartets • 4 primordial elements found in the wasteland have been transformed in the 4 Quartets • Burnt Norton there is the descent into the practical world of East Coker (Earth, ordinary experience) in the water of Dry Salvages and beginning to move out of Dry Salvages and up into Little Gidding o Burnt Norton (air); only the present moment really matters; experiencing God in concrete places o East Coker- represents Earth (origins of Eliot’s family), time as flux (how birth follows death only to be followed by birth again)  Owl of Minerva- wisdom we get only in terms of understand our past  dark knight of the soul (experience of not knowing where you are going not understanding where you are headed, dispossessing things that get in way of possibility of being led)  history begins in a garden and ends in a garden o Dry Salvages- water; links the sea, river, and sailing as metaphor for life and humanity  Assume we can control nature (reference to Mississippi that is untamable)  Sea is eternal time and river is time within us  Enormity of ocean enormity of human history • Little Gidding- fire; Pentecostal fire (tongues of fire, sending of the holy spirit, birth of the church, presence of the holy spirit announcing good news has come in person of Jesus Christ and love we experience is love of self sacrifice and resurrection) • Poem ends in a chapel and same chapel that we found in the Wasteland • all elements subsumed into primal element of fire 5.  If the Underground Man were an art critic, what would be his response to Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde? • He could not accept selfless love; could only conceive love as power over someone else and cannot love someone without thinking of your own ego (self-centered love) • Would probably mock Tristan and Isolde for their deep love like he did to Liza; could not accept that they love each other beyond bodily manifestation down to soul • Would agree that love is torment; lovers must suffer in the day • Loves pain and suffering; would revel in the fact that Tristan suffers at his death bed waiting for Isolde and that he died for love (probably would not like that he and Isolde are together in death) 6. Discuss tone, color, sonority and the way that these shape feelings in the listener. • Tone- a musical or vocal sound characterized by its pitch, intensity, quality, and duration o We have major and minor tonalities- Major is bright, minor is more subdued. One tone is singled out as the center of the group, and serves as landmark for the others o chromatic scale (used by classical composers in way to increase tension in piece they have constructed) • Sonority- what makes a tone attractive, Overtones and undertones, Its richness and depth o New kind of vocal sound being put together • Color – tone color, the quality of a musical note or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments (the uniqueness of a sound) o They found that few harmonics are mainly associated with the expression of low to neutral arousal, whereas many harmonics are associated with high arousal o Whether or not the timbre is soft or sharp 7. Discuss the role of silence in Gregorian chant. • monophonic, one voice, Western tradition of the Roman Catholic Church (originating with Pope Gregory the Great), no dissonance all harmony • modulate the silence like Gothic art models- language is unknown to us and magic of wavelike movement on the buzzing Monastic walls causes us to fall silent and this silent permits us to express the music in a variety of ways, allows the literal text to be forgotten and transcended (moment of relfection?) • boundaries are let down, we become incorporated into prehistoric times, everything becomes dead silent 8. Discuss how diatonic and chromatic scales function. Diatonic scale • ordering of the 7 tones A,B,C,D,E,F,G to one another according to their pitches (major or minor) • implies a certain relationship based upon tension and resolution. For example the 7th note seeks to be resolved in the eighth note, ti to do Chromatic: • all 12 half tones “semitones” (the original 7 plus sharps & flats) • used by classical composers in way to increase tension in piece they have constructed 9. Discuss Wagner’s use of the chromatic scale with respect to the meanings he is trying to articulate in Tristan and Isolde. • Wagner kept building using the chromatic scale (waiting for resolution which doesn’t come until very end) • Lots of sharps and flats and kept modulating to different key areas (full of tension, richness and depth, what key is the music in?) getting away from the home key (conditions for rise of atonality) • Famous Tristan chord chromatic chord sounds dissonant and whenever it sounds references Tristan musical motifs tell us what goes on inside character’s head (thinking or feeling) • Musical exploration of love; wanted the music to be as close to what the words are trying to express as possible • Art of transition between sections and dramatic moods; shifting emotions of love potently expressed through shifting harmonies and orchestral textures 10. Explain what it means to suggest that what Wagner is doing musically is an archeology of the psyche. • Digging into primordial ooze that is our Id (instinctual drives, feelings, desires) • Trying to evoke a sense of longing with his music • He thought opera had become degraded and lost its power of Greek tragedy so he wanted to do away with popular French and Italian opera style • Takes a medieval story of Tristan and Isolde and weaves musical opera around it; presents it in context of how love is the dominant force in life but the kind of love that these two star crossed lovers want to realize is impossible in this life (everything about this world is transient, all about love-death) 11. Describe the differences between Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods in music. Baroque (1600-1750) • Establishment of the major and minor tonalities; develops as a way to explore the diatonic scale o Introduction and the free handling of dissonance (creating tension in piece to intensify the mood and color of the pi
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