Jillian C. RogersFeb 8, 2021
French Music and Trauma Between the World Wars
Oxford University Press 2021
Understanding how people cope with large-scale traumatic events has become more urgent as we continue to cope with the effects of the pandemic. In Resonant Recoveries: French Music and Trauma Between the World Wars (Oxford University Press, 2021), Jillian Rogers examines France in the aftermath of World War I, which left its residents mourning a lost generation and many soldiers suffering from what we would now call post-traumatic stress disorder.
Through analysis of French medical, philosophical, and literary texts, as well as music and archival materials, Rogers argues that music was a significant method that French people used to manage and perform trauma. Employing innovative analytical techniques, Rogers shows that stylistic developments in post-war French music may have been responses to trauma suffered by the composers. As a consolatory practice, French performers used music to remember loved ones but also to sooth themselves through the repetitive bodily movements required to play neoclassical music. By interpreting French modernist music as a therapeutic medium Rogers demonstrates the importance of addressing trauma, mourning, and people's emotional lives in music scholarship.
Kristen M. Turner is a lecturer in the music and honors departments at North Carolina State University. Her research centers on race and class in American popular entertainment at the turn of the twentieth century.