How to Lose a Musical Compass in a Few Hundred Lines? (And How to Find it again?)

Adventures of a Twentieth-Century and an Early Romantic Composer in a Waste Land


  • Gábor Bodnár Eötvös Loránd University



This paper attempts to explain the collective incomprehensibility of The Waste Land. Of course, this attempt does not only apply to the music of Anthony Burgess, since, for one, it is inseparable from the poetry of T. S. Eliot, and it also multiplies the number of quotations and associations in the literary work, be it obvious or more or less hid- den. Therefore, this paper will embark on a special task: through the compositional methods of a nineteenth-century composer, Robert Schumann, it will try to demon- strate the real and metaphorical ambiguity of the tonality resulting from fragmenta- tion, creative and playful musical gestures, and the various personae—this method may help to find an individual way to experience the effect of Burgess’s music.