Date of Award


First Advisor

John Myers

Second Advisor

Larry Wallach


This thesis looks into the question of interpretation surrounding Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, a piece with vexingly ambiguous meaning, twisted and appropriated time and again to political ends. Through this we will see that narrative is an ideological function made to shape and define the meaning of a signifying entity from without, and that truth is in fact highly subject to the desires of those who would benefit from it. In the second part of the thesis we will examine what happens to meaning within a work designed to be bereft of the author function, finding its limits of meaning only through ideological figures imposed by the reader. This will be done by creating a multi-medium work (illustration, music and words) in which there is only a single author-ordained narrative that can be called upon as objective truth; that the meaning and signification within has been completely disavowed by the author, and must be recognized as coming solely from the conversation between the work and the reader. This is to the end of ascertaining the limits of narrative, and creating a space in which Shostakovich can be considered simultaneously with and without narrative.


Ask at the Alumni Library circulation desk for the companion piece that accompanies this thesis.

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