Elena Laura CALOGERO: Ideas and Images of Music in English and Continental Emblem Books, 1550-1700. 2009. xii, 272 pages, 63 illustrations.

Some concepts deriving from ancient and medieval writings on music – considered in its philosophical, theoretical and practical aspects – as well as descriptions of contemporary musical practice, began to find a place in English literature in didactic and allegorical poems of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, where music was seen as a liberal art. These works stressed the educative role of music and its influence on human feelings, and some of what became frequent motifs in the literature of the following period now began to take shape. The Renaissance rediscovery and reinterpretation of a number of ancient ideas and notions about music was furthered by a direct contact with the classical works. From the latter musical theorists of the period took the hint for their speculations on the relationship between music and poetry, on the ethical value of music and on its power of influencing human passions, trying each time to adapt these ideas to the needs of contemporary musical practice that had further evolved since the Middle Ages.

Die Verbindung von Musik und Poetik und deren Einfluss auf die menschliche Gefühlswelt beschäftigen die Menschen seit Alters her. So standen theoretische Arbeiten über Musik aus Altertum und Mittelalter Pate für allegorische und didaktische Dichtung im England des 15. und frühen 16. Jahrhunderts. Durch die Wiederentdeckung und Neuinterpretation philosophischer Versatzstücke in der Renaissance erhielten diese Schriften Eingang in der Kanon der englischen Literatur, wobei die Ideen im Hinblick auf den moralischen Wert von Musik immer wieder an die Bedürfnisse zeitgenössischer Musikauffassung angepasst wurden. Elena Laura Calogero untersucht die übernommenen Theorien in ihrer neuen Anwendung, wobei sie besonderen Augenmerk auf die emblematische Versinnbildlichung von Musik legt. Unterteilt in die Hauptkapitel »The Power of Music and the ‘Music’ of Power«, »Emblems of Love and Music« und »Music and Spirituality« erforscht die Autorin die Balance von Musik, Poetik und Emblematik. Englische Abhandlung mit Zusammenfassung und Register.

»An Italian specialist on emblems, Calogero, revises her doctoral dissertation on musical themes in European emblems from the 16th and 17th centuries. She covers emblems of Orpheus in early modern England; the triumph of the lyre in displays of Amphion, Arian, and Apollo; musical instruments as concord, rhetoric, and virtue; Cupid as musician; concord in love and friendship; sirens; music as vanity; David as emblematic model; and the tuning of the human soul. The emblems are illustrated in the end matter.«
Reference & Research Book News. August 2010.

»Elena Laura Calogero's book offers an exploration of allusions to music in an impressively wide range of early modern English and Continental emblem books. (...) Calogero carves out three quite specific interpretive contexts for her examination of emblematic images: the book's first section is devoted to the political resonances of music, the second engages music as a figure for love, and the last addresses music and spirituality.« Hilary Binda in Renaissance Quarterly.

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