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Debussy's Legacy and the Construction of Reputation$
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Marianne Wheeldon

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190631222

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190631222.001.0001

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The Construction of Reputation and the Case of Debussy

The Construction of Reputation and the Case of Debussy

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 The Construction of Reputation and the Case of Debussy
Source:
Debussy's Legacy and the Construction of Reputation
Author(s):

Marianne Wheeldon

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190631222.003.0001

This chapter considers some of the general mechanisms by which artistic figures are consecrated and weighs their relative contribution to the construction of Debussy’s reputation. Drawing on Gladys Engel Lang and Kurt Lang’s analysis of the survival of reputation in the fine arts, four areas emerge that would seem to be particularly relevant to Debussy: (1) the initiatives undertaken by the composer to establish his own legacy; (2) the posthumous reception of the corpus of works left behind; (3) the actions of heirs and family members on behalf of the deceased: and (4) the efforts of the composer’s close friends and collaborators. Yet, as Chapter 1 demonstrates, the first two were rendered less effective because of the particularities of Debussy’s case—namely, his protracted illness and his death during the First World War.

Keywords:   Claude Debussy, legacy, reputation, posthumous reception, First World War

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