“Things as they are / Are changed upon the blue guitar.”

– Wallace Stevens



about

The portrayal of music in literature—the description of sound through words—is a unique form of expression. While interesting in itself, why does literature attempt to reimagine music, how is it done, and what is the significance of doing so?

In response to these questions, I focus on the representations of classical music in and around modernist literature to consider how literary depictions of music narratively and poetically disclose modern realities.

Ultimately, this focus is about how music provides literature an added means to express how people aesthetically experience, contemplate, and confront the modern ambiguities of environment and identity. 

Curriculum Vitae – Click Here



sound

“Where does sound come from? Does it start out as an impulse? Does it start out as an emotion, an idea, a rhythm?”


– Zsolt Bognár

“Episode 41: Astrid Schween — Cellist,” Living the Classical Life, 23 Jan. 2017

“Episode 41” – Click Here




RESEARCH

Dissertation: “Classical Music and the Modernist Novel”

Through American and English modernist literature, my dissertation focuses on literary representations of classical music as metaphor, motif, and phenomenon to study how music informs, revises, and restricts coming-of-age identities.

“Written Rhythms: Music, Circadian Tensions, and the Single-Day Novel”

Through modernist and postmodernist single-day novels, my second project focuses on the tensions between self and place to study how music’s conceptions of sound and time affect characters’ journey identities and existential relations.




TEACHING

I teach 19th- and 20th-century literature in a comparative and sonic context. I also teach literary and critical theory as well as undergraduate rhetoric and writing.

In my courses, I combine vernacular pedagogies with theories of production and reception. Overall, my courses examine the aesthetic connections between narrative and identity.




SCHEDULE

“Novel Identities: Voice and Intimacy in and After Modernism” (course at LSU, Spring 2018)

The 2018 Annual Modern Language Association Convention (New York, NY, Jan. 4-7).

“Reading for Writing: Language, Identity, and the Literary Arts ” (course at LSU, Fall 2017)

“Modern Critical Thought and Literary Exchange” (course at LSU, Summer 2017)

“Epiphany, Künstlerromane, and Modernist Fictions” (course at LSU, Spring 2017)

“Honors Literary Theory: Modern Surfaces: Production, Reception, Text” (course at LSU, Fall 2016)





CONTACT


rjm@ryanjamesmcguckin.com




 

Background: definition of “Schenker Analysis,” from Don Michael Randel’s The New Harvard Dictionary of Music (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1986. 730-31).