The central European legacy of dissonance in the poetry of Tomaž Šalamun
Williams, Jan Edward.
Thesis (M.A.)--Georgetown University, 2011.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. The poet Tomaz Salamun writes in a central European artistic tradition that values dissonance, ambivalence, and estrangement as aesthetic qualities. In the early twentieth century, Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg "emancipated dissonance" in his music by blurring the distinction between subjective notions of consonance and dissonance. Schoenberg challenged traditional conceptions of harmony with tonal combinations and progressions that defied expectations for resolution. Other central European art, like the Expressionist painting of Oskar Kokoschka and the poetry of Paul Celan and Charles Simic, manifests an affinity for disjunction, interrogation of subjectivity, and resistance of collectivization. Salamun has inherited this central European aesthetic legacy, and it expresses itself in his poetry like an artistic phenotype. He uses paratactical incongruence to illustrate the tension and ambivalence of the social, psychological, and political atmosphere. A Slovenian poet, Salamun grew up near Trieste, a site of intercultural exchange. His post-war poetry reflects the paradoxical nature of violence and the tension that exists in a region historically subordinated by stronger surrounding powers. Salamun frequently depicts the violent and grotesque in his poems, employing an aesthetic of disharmony in images and in the language. Like Schoenberg, he rejects tradition and traditional radicalism, each of which requires, to some degree, collectivization and the erasure of the individual. Yet, in his rejection of absolutes, Salamun adheres to a central European tradition of paradox and dissonance in art.
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