The Introduction establishes the principle concerns of the book: to map out a more responsible, rigorous, and situated engagement with the music in transnational fiction and theory; to demonstrate the connections between the literary, the musical and the political; and to assess the wide-ranging applications of musical forms in transnational writing. It opens with a critical reading of Julio Cortázar's story “Clone” to illustrate the influence of musical form on contemporary transnational fiction. It then provides a brief overview of the significance of musical concepts in twentieth-century literary criticism, and outlines the problematic status of the voice in both music and literature. The Introduction proceeds to evaluate recent developments in the field of word-music studies, noting that scholars have only recently attended to the music of postcolonial and non-Anglophone literatures and have largely neglected the political and ethical implications of musical form. Finally, it assesses the fundamental role that music plays in the work of novelists Assia Djebar, Maryse Condé, J. M. Coetzee, and Nancy Huston, calling attention to the specific contexts from which each of these authors writes—postcolonial Algeria, Guadeloupe, South Africa, Canada, Paris, New York, Australia. Working between multiple traditions, languages, and audiences, these writers appropriate musical forms in their efforts to reinvigorate and reinvent the novel.
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