Peter Dayan är professor i Word and Music Studies vid University of Edinburgh, samt gästprofessor vid Centre for Research in Contemporary Poetry, Aalborgs universitet. Han är specialiserad på intermediala relationer och författare till böckerna Art as Music, Music as Poetry, Poetry as Art, from Whistler to Stravinsky and beyond (2011) samt Music Writing Literature, from Sand via Debussy to Derrida (2006). I sin pågående forskning fokuserar han bland annat på musikens roll i dadaisternas verksamhet i Zürich. 

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On the dangers of letting words, music, and images get too close to each other: a lesson from Montmartre, 1887-1889 

It is no coincidence that the “Chat Noir” cabaret in Montmartre so rapidly acquired a mythical status, which it has never entirely lost, as the one performance space in which the true avant-garde aesthetics of the late 19th century were really at home. One of the secrets of its success was that it accommodated both of the current attitudes towards the relationships between the arts. One of those attitudes asks the arts in all media to work together in pursuit of a common expression. The other carefully separates them out, in order to allow an inexpressible truth to emerge between them. This paper will proceed from one example of each attitude: an antisemitic election poster, and a wildly popular shadow play based on Flaubert’s Tentation de saint Antoine. It aims to raise some rather uncomfortable questions about the relationship between “Chat Noir” intermediality and the rise of antisemitism, as well as about the limits of our critical vocabulary.