HumanitiesWeb.org - Jacques Offenbach - The Mozart of the Champs-Élysées [Suggested Reading]
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Jacques Offenbach
Suggested Reading



Mad Loves
(Heather Hadlock)
In a lively exploration of Jacques Offenbach's final masterpiece, Heather Hadlock shows how Les Contes d'Hoffmann summed up not only the composer's career but also a century of Romantic culture. A strange fusion of irony and profundity, frivolity and nightmare, the opera unfolds as a series of dreamlike episodes, peopled by such archetypes as the Poet, the Beautiful Dying Girl, the Automaton, the Courtesan, and the Mesmerist. Hadlock shows how these episodes comprise a collective unconscious. Her analyses touch on topics ranging from the self-reflexive style of the protagonist and the music, to parallels between nineteenth-century discourses of theater and medical science, to fascination with the hysterical female subject.

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