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Chopin and His World$
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Jonathan D. Bellman and Halina Goldberg

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691177755

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691177755.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 13 October 2019

Revisiting Chopin’s Tubercular Song, or, An Opera in the Making

Revisiting Chopin’s Tubercular Song, or, An Opera in the Making

Chapter:
(p.103) Revisiting Chopin’s Tubercular Song, or, An Opera in the Making
Source:
Chopin and His World
Author(s):

David Kasunic

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691177755.003.0005

This chapter examines a crucially important but overlooked aspect of Chopin's biography—the link between his illness and his perceived singing, and that what seems to occasion this singing is a disease that progressively hollows out one's lungs. As such, Chopin as singer becomes a metaphor for the lyric creativity of the tubercular Romantic artist, which, as Susan Sontag observes, became such a cliché in the nineteenth century that at the end of the century one critic suggested that it was the progressive disappearance of tuberculosis which accounted for the current decline of literature and the arts. The chapter shows how the pathbreaking work of the French diagnostic pathologist René Laënnec (1781–1826) challenges this generalized metaphoric reading of the reception of Chopin.

Keywords:   Fryderyk Chopin, Romantic artist, Susan Sontag, tuberculosis, literature, arts, René Laënnec

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