Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
Music and Fantasy in the Age of Berlioz

Music and Fantasy in the Age of Berlioz


Part of New Perspectives in Music History and Criticism

  • Date Published: September 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107136328

£ 94.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • The centrality of fantasy to French literary culture has long been accepted by critics, but the sonorous dimensions of the mode and its wider implications for musical production have gone largely unexplored. In this book, Francesca Brittan invites us to listen to fantasy, attending both to literary descriptions of sound in otherworldly narratives, and to the wave of 'fantastique' musical works published in France through the middle decades of the nineteenth century, including Berlioz's 1830 Symphonie fantastique, and pieces by Liszt, Adam, Meyerbeer, and others. Following the musico-literary aesthetics of E. T. A. Hoffmann, they allowed waking and dreaming, reality and unreality to converge, yoking fairy sound to insect song, demonic noise to colonial 'babbling', and divine music to the strains of water and wind. Fantastic soundworlds disrupted France's native tradition of marvellous illusion, replacing it with a magical materialism inextricable from republican activism, theological heterodoxy, and the advent of 'radical' romanticism.

    • Rethinks French romanticism as a form of magical materialism in which sound played a crucial role
    • Demonstrates that fantasy should be understood not only as a literary genre but as a much broader imaginative mode with textual, sonorous, and aesthetic implications
    • Reveals compositional contexts that enhance our understanding of the music of Berlioz and others, including Liszt and Stravinsky
    • Appeals to readers beyond the musicological community, drawing together musical, literary, scientific, and visual materials
    Read more

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107136328
    • length: 372 pages
    • dimensions: 255 x 182 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.91kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus. 1 table 40 music examples
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: hearing fantasy
    1. The fantastique moderne
    2. Melancholy, monomania, and the monde fantastique
    3. Le retour à la vie: natural magic and the ideal orchestra
    4. Grammatical imaginaries
    5. Listening in hell
    6. Fairyology, entomology, and the Scherzo fantastique.

  • Author

    Francesca Brittan, Cleveland Institute of Music
    Francesca Brittan is Assistant Professor of Music at Case Western Reserve University, Ohio. Her work focuses on music of the long nineteenth century, and has been published in a range of scholarly journals including 19th-Century Music, the Journal of the American Musicological Society, and the Journal of Popular Music Studies. She was the 2012 winner of the American Musicological Society's Alfred Einstein Award.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.