Summary

In my article, I discuss the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould’s (1932–1982) reception in literature; in novels, children’s biographies and poetry. Through close reading, I scrutinize the meanings associated with Gould in these three literary genres. I give particular focus to Gould’s national iconicity, that is, his position as a cultural icon and national hero. I utilise Mikko Heiniö’s concept of topos, referring to a petrified and unreflective mode of an individual’s public reception. Gould’s reputation as a radical, iconoclastic, eccentric, and solitary artist is reflected in the qualities that circulate repeatedly in Gould’s reception historically, and is therefore also instrumental in constructing his public image. Topos, thus defined, always functions as a backdrop for the reception of Gould’s music. One of the main conclusions of my essay, admittedly one in need of a further discussion, is that the experience of any music is, particularly in today’s age of information technology, a multimodal process in which an artist’s textual representation plays a crucial role.

Keywords: Glenn Gould (1932-1982), Canada, national iconicity, public reception, literature