Faculty Colloquium: Marva Duerksen

Please join us Friday, October 13 at 3 p.m. in Fine Arts West 145 for our fifth Faculty Colloquium of this semester. Treats will be provided.

Presenter: Marva Duerksen, Associate Professor of Music
Title: Proleptic Rhetoric and Survival of the “Self”: Composer Niccoló Castiglioni On Dickinson’s “I heard a Fly buzz—”

In “I heard a fly buzz – when I died,” poet Emily Dickinson adopts a proleptic, or anticipatory, rhetorical stance from which to probe haunting questions of death and the boundaries separating death from life. The poem’s speaker, an implicit self, dies, and yet, impossibly, survives to narrate the story of their death. In this presentation I examine Italian composer Niccoló Castiglioni’s interpretation of Dickinson’s “Fly,” focusing on ways in which the composer builds on Dickinson’s poetic design to craft a musical self, position that self within a musical space, and support or engineer its demise. Broadening the inquiry, I consider the stakes for poet and composer. If proleptic positioning supports an enduring poetic self, might it not also point to Dickinson’s desire for survival beyond death of her own creative self? And, as composers take up this proleptic self musically, could they be engaging ongoing anxieties about the survival of our own artistic and embodied selves?

Students are welcome. We look forward to seeing you there.

Ellen Eisenberg and Bill Kelm
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators