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Song Loves the MassesHerder on Music and Nationalism$
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Johann Gottfried Herder and Philip V. Bohlman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520234949

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520234949.001.0001

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The Shores of Modernity

The Shores of Modernity

Essay on “Wirkung der Dichtkunst auf die Sitten neuerer Zeiten” (1777)1

(p.201) 7. The Shores of Modernity
Song Loves the Masses

Philip V. Bohlman

University of California Press

In a broadly historical essay Herder examines the ways in which poetry and song reflect national character. Important distinctions between the objects and subjects of poetry, especially the relation between song as object and singing as subject, provide a comparative framework throughout and become the foundations for a critical language to represent modern culture and politics (e.g., the relation between Volk and Nation). Herder carefully traces the historical development of national literary traditions, but he draws the reader to considerations of poetry and song in the contemporary world of the Enlightenment. He concludes by drawing attention to the ways in which certain genres of poetry and song extend beyond the traditions of single peoples, acquiring a greater impact as transnational.

Keywords:   Cultural relativism, Folk song, Modernity, Literary history, National customs, Poesy and poetry, Reception history, Singing and song

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