Two of Edward Said's several writings about pianist and writer Glenn Gould are titled “Glenn Gould, the Virtuoso as Intellectual” and “The Music Itself: Glenn Gould's Contrapuntal Vision.” In Musical Elaborations, Said refers to the need for new attempts “to devise modes of articulating musical activity” in relation to “the social and cultural setting.” Gould's work offered Said what he recognized to be productive efforts—particularly Gould's explorations of “counterpoint”—toward that end. During a major phase of Said's work in which he explored “counterpoint” for “a different kind of reading and interpretation” that might support progressive social and cultural change, he pursued a course seemingly compatible with a theme of “intellectual liberation and critique” he located in Gould's and his own work. In this article, I discuss Gould's work as influencing a major concern of Said's efforts between 1984 and 1993. However, I argue that in the performances and writings of Gould were signs of a skepticism about “humanism” that would have included Said's reform of “humanism in the name of humanism” and the future society either “humanism” imagined, signs that foreshadowed Said's eventual reconsiderations of “contrapuntal reading and interpretation” and the society to which they might contribute.

You do not currently have access to this content.