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The Edinburgh Companion to Literature and Music$
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Delia da Sousa Correa

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780748693122

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748693122.001.0001

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Nelson Goodman: An Analytic Approach to Music and Literature Studies

Nelson Goodman: An Analytic Approach to Music and Literature Studies

Chapter:
45 Nelson Goodman: An Analytic Approach to Music and Literature Studies
Source:
The Edinburgh Companion to Literature and Music
Author(s):

Eric Prieto

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748693122.003.0052

Nelson Goodman’s Languages of Art, although little discussed by word-and-music scholars, offers a powerful set of concepts for understanding the relations between music and literature. Goodman addresses the relationship between the arts by considering them in terms of a more general theory of symbolisation, one that foregrounds such apparently mundane tasks as measuring, labelling, sampling, and comparing. Although initially disconcerting, this approach has the advantage of reframing historically intractable questions of musico-literary aesthetics in ways that make them easier to analyse. For example, if music, as a presentational art, does not re-present in the manner of language, how does it convey meaning? Goodman’s answers to such questions are exemplary for their clarity, simplicity, and power. At the heart of Goodman’s theory are his three basic categories of symbolisation: denotation, exemplification, and expression.

Keywords:   aesthetic philosophy, analytic philosophy, symbol systems, representation, referentiality, Nelson Goodman, denotation, exemplification, expression, musical signification

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