Thursday, February 16, 2023

Baroque 'N' Roll

 I did not imagine that I was the first person to come up with "baroque 'n' roll" -   - the title of the chapter in S+A about Queen, Sparks, Cockney Rebel etc - indeed it seems like the kind of slightly unwieldly punnage that would be hatched within the UK rock press at some point prior, possibly by a headline writer.

Still, surprised to see that Brigid Brophy came up with it independently and quite early with the title of this 1987 collection of her essays. 

Apparently she was obsessed with the baroque aesthetic, it informed her own writing:

In Baroque-‘n’-Roll and Other Essays, Brigid Brophy observes features comparable to her practice of parody in the baroque genre: “Baroque is an open, sometimes an explosive embrace of contradictions, intellectual and of feeling. Ambiguity and puns are its raw material merely. Its essence is the ambivalence, in full deep psychoanalytic import, of emotions. It is a pair of giant curly brackets that clip together things irreconcilable” . Ambivalence and ambiguity... are... defined as the main components of the baroque aesthetics by Brophy....  

"Experimenting with classical material, playing with various styles and art forms jarringly superimposed, and testing the limits of reproducing a norm that degenerates in the text, in order to fashion a literary and linguistic baroque monster. Such a writing process, which quite literally places planting bombs within classical structures at the core of artistic creation and deprives its readers of the comfort of traditional storytelling, may lead to aporia. However, it also encourages readers to adopt new reading strategies, embracing instability, openness and inventiveness...

"In Brophy’s description of baroque paintings, “[t]he elements of the composition are convulsed as though by an explosion, the designer no longer seeks to balance one against another in a simulacrum of heavenly or geometric harmony; instead, he arrests and transfixes the explosion at the very point of disintegration”. The entropic motifs of explosion and disintegration that Brophy defines as key visual elements of the baroque aesthetics emblematize the parodic process at the core of the novel. In In Transit, the classical material of literature is overstated and complicated through various strategies of exaggeration, refiguration and metafiction in order to better display the conventions on which it relies"

Justine Gonneaud

Some correspondences here perhaps to Queen and especially Sparks's most outré excesses. 

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Baroque 'N' Roll

 I did not imagine that I was the first person to come up with "baroque 'n' roll" -   - the title of the chapter in S+A a...