Eccentric Voices and the Representation of Vocal Virtuosity in Fiction: James McCourt’s Mawrdew Czgowchwz

  • Marcin Stawiarski University of Caen, ERIBIA
Keywords: fiction, music, voice, eccentricity, musicalization of fiction

Abstract

This paper examines the representation of vocal virtuosity in fiction. It focuses on the concept of voice as it is represented in a work of fiction through musical eccentricity. The paper centres on James McCourt’s Mawrdew Czgowchwz (1975). James McCourt’s novel tells the story of an opera singer, Mawrdew Czgowchwz. In the novel, the voice is related to extravagance and fanaticism, so that it relates to violence and conflict. In McCourt’s novel, the stylistic features of the text show a hyperbolic use of language resorting to Rabelaisian lists, foreign vocabulary, neologisms, or nonce-words, which create tongue-twister cornucopia effects of linguistic musicality. The paper aims to demonstrate that (a) the mode of eccentricity is a fundamental mode of representing music in literature; (b) eccentricity rubs off on the very structure of the text, so that it leads to singular forms of operatic musicalization of fiction and musicalized writing; (c) the voice ends up turning into a fetish object.

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Published
2016-06-20
How to Cite
Stawiarski, M. (2016). Eccentric Voices and the Representation of Vocal Virtuosity in Fiction: James McCourt’s Mawrdew Czgowchwz. ELOPE: English Language Overseas Perspectives and Enquiries, 13(1), 69-79. https://doi.org/10.4312/elope.13.1.69-79
Section
Literature