Beethoven, Blake, and the Sounds of Revolution


Spring 2016 quarter

Taught by

Ideas matter. Words and music are powerful; they can profoundly alter how we view ourselves, everything outside ourselves, and the intersection of the two. What can the works of composer Ludwig van Beethoven and poet William Blake teach us about the power of imagination and the possibilities of human freedom? Through close listening and reading, we will study the textures of their work in the context of the 19th century, as well as consider several of their late 19th-century inheritors and 20th-century transformers and critics: in poetry, the experimental formalism of Gertrude Stein and Louis Zukofsky (“upper level music, lower level speech”); and in music, the compositions of Richard Wagner and John Adams. Other readings will include Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy Out of The Spirit of Music, Georg Buchner's Lenz, and Adalbert Stifter's Rock Crystal, as well as essays by Maynard Solomon, Richard Taruskin, Edward Said, and Theodore Adorno. Particular works of Beethoven to be considered are the 3rd, 5th, and 9th symphonies, piano sonata No. 17, and his late string quartets.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

literature, poetics, performance, writing, and music.

Academic Website

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day

Advertised schedule: First spring class meeting: Monday, March 28 at 9am (Com 308)


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Online Learning

No Required Online Learning: No access to web tools required. Any web tools provided are optional for students.

Required Fees

$50 for entrance fees.


Date Revision
February 4th, 2016 This program now accepts students of all levels (Freshmen through Seniors).

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior; 25% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 50


Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16 credits): 30137
Fr (16 credits): 30340

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