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Authorship  2012 

The Rebirth of the Musical Author in Recent Fiction Written in English

Keywords: musical author , Kazuo Ishiguro , Conrad Williams , Bernard MacLaverty , Vikram Seth , author fiction

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Abstract:

In his 2005 monograph on The Author, Andrew Bennett reflects on how “authorship is central to the way in which critical practice is currently conceptualized and theorized”. The rebirth of the author in contemporary criticism is being accompanied by a renewed fascination with the figure of the author as the subject of recent fiction. This can be seen reflected in current portrayals of real and fictional writers such as Henry James, in David Lodge’s Author, Author (2004), or Olive Wellwood, in A.S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book (2009). Moreover, the recovery of the author can be traced as well in the context of the emergence of music as a fertile referent for interartistic narratives. In terms of the dialogue between contemporary fiction and music, there seems to be a common interest in the image of the author, both in the act of creation, as a composer, and of re-creation, as a performer. Works such as Bernard MacLaverty’s Grace Notes (1997), Vikram Seth’s An Equal Music (1999), Conrad Williams’ The Concert Pianist (2006), or Kazuo Ishiguro’s Nocturnes. Five Stories of Music and Nightfall (2009) favour the author-musician’s perspective as they interact with music in different ways. In light of this, the aim of this article is to explore the process of rebirth of the musical author in recent fiction written in English, analysing this trend as part of a more general tendency to recover the author’s presence and voice in both fiction and criticism.

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