Polyphony and the Modern

Call for paper

Deadline: Monday 1 July 2019.
If you are interested, please send an abstract to jonathan.fruoco@gmail.com.
The volume asks one fundamental question: what does it mean to be modern in one’s own time? In order to answer that question, it will focus on polyphony as an index of modernity.
In the Principle of Hope, published back in the 1950s, Ernst Bloch showed that each moment in time is potentially fractured. That people living side by side in the same country can effectively live in different centuries—some making their alliances with the past and others betting on the future—but all of them, at least technically, enclosed in the temporal moment. To be Modern in this sense is simply to be “progressive” or “up-to-date” in choosing from among already-available alternatives. But can a claim of modernity also mean something more ambitious: that an artist has, by accident or design, escaped the limits of his or her own time, and somehow precociously embodies the spirit or outlook of a subsequent age?
Polyphony, and polyphonic practice will consequently be seen as the “bridge” here, providing a terminology and a stylistic practice by which the “period barrier” between Medieval and Early Modern can be breached. It will ensure internal coherence and unify the contributions by establishing a link between different languages and genres: polyphony will, in this regard, be the common denominator between Eustache Deschamps, Guillaume de Machaut, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Keats and Paul Claudel, among many others.
Related keywords: early modern studies, Medieval studies , music, polyphony