This book aims at refocusing critical reflection on thematics in the arts, a topic that has been neglected recently. The volume is divided into four sections: theoretical essays, applications to literature, reflections on thematics in music and the visual arts, and a conclusion.
The contributors, of international reputation, include Jean-Yves Bosseur, Claude Bremond, Menachem Brinker, Peter Cryle, Lubomír Dolezel, Françoise Escal, Thomas Pavel, Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, Georges Roque, Jean-Marie Schaeffer, Cesare Segre, and Werner Sollars. In the theoretical section, the authors assess the need for new thematics, relate thematics to structural analysis and interpretation, and sketch a history of the discipline. The second section contains three applications to literature and examines the theme of the double, the Faustian literary theme, and the relation between literary theme and plot. The third section includes essays on classical music, modern music, and painting. The volume concludes with an essay on the aesthetic implications of thematic studies. The contributors answer questions about the nature of themes in general, and what would constitute a modern theory of literary themes.
Claude Bremond is Professor of the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris. He is the author of Logique du récit, co-author of L'Exemplum and Mille et un contes de la nuit; and co-editor of Formes Médiévales du conte merveilleux. Joshua Landy is in the Department of Comparative Literature at Princeton University. Thomas Pavel is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Princeton University. He is the author of Infléxions de voix, La Syntaxe narrative des tragédies de Corneille, The Poetics of Plot: The Case of English Renaissance Drama, Fictional Worlds, and The Feud of Language.