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Intertextuality, subjectivity, and meaning in Liszt’s Deux Polonaises

Cormac, Joanne

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Nottingham Research Fellow


This article brings the concepts of intertextuality and subjectivity into dialogue in order to advance our understanding of both and to generate new readings of two pieces that are rich in intertextual relationships and also raise complex questions about subjectivity: Liszt’s Deux Polonaises. I argue that, not only are intertextuality and subjectivity codependent, intertextuality also influences the way subjectivities behave and their characteristics. Furthermore, the performer has a fundamental influence on how subjectivities are expressed, challenging our understanding of who retains authorial control. The Deux Polonaises are also related to a literary intertext: Liszt’s F. Chopin, written in the wake of Chopin’s death. This book offers fascinating insight into the potential meanings behind the intertextual references and the play of subjectivities within the pieces, and connects the Deux Polonaises to the emotive historical and political context of their composition. It opens up multiple meanings that are related to contemporary conceptions of the polonaise, and the symbols of Polish cultural Romanticism with which the genre was intertwined.


Cormac, J. (2019). Intertextuality, subjectivity, and meaning in Liszt’s Deux Polonaises. Musical Quarterly, 102(1), 111–152.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 4, 2017
Online Publication Date Apr 12, 2019
Publication Date Apr 12, 2019
Deposit Date Nov 7, 2017
Publicly Available Date Apr 13, 2021
Journal The Musical Quarterly
Print ISSN 0027-4631
Electronic ISSN 1741-8399
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 102
Issue 1
Pages 111–152
Keywords Music
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in The Musical Quarterly following peer review. The version of record Joanne Cormac, Intertextuality, Subjectivity, and Meaning in Liszt’s Deux Polonaises, The Musical Quarterly, 2019, is available online at:
Contract Date Nov 7, 2017


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