Antithetical Arts

On the Ancient Quarrel Between Literature and Music


Antithetical Arts constitutes a defence of musical formalism against those who would put literary interpretations on the absolute music canon. In Part I, the historical origins of both the literary interpretation of absolute music and musical formalism are laid out. In Part II, specific attempts to put literary interpretations on various works of the absolute music canon are examined and criticized. Finally, in Part III, the question is raised as to whatthe human significance of absolute music is, if it does not lie in its representational or narrative content. The answer is that, as yet, philosophy has no answer, and that the question should be considered an important one for philosophers of art to consider, and to try to answer without appeal torepresentational or narrative content.
  • OUP Oxford; March 2009
  • ISBN 9780191568060
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Antithetical Arts
  • Author: Peter Kivy
  • Imprint: OUP Oxford

In The Press

Kivy's writing style happily shares many of the characteristics of good literature - wit, elegance, clarity, clear narrative development and readability. In short, his book, apart from anything else, is a good read. To the aesthetician, it is also of great philosophical interest, amd places the current debates on musical expression within a historical context.

About The Author

Peter Kivy is Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University, New Jersey. His field of specialization is aesthetics and the philosophy of art.