The nineteen interdisciplinary essays assembled in WORD AND MUSIC STUDIES I were first presented in 1997 at the founding conference of the International Association for Word and Music Studies (WMA) in Graz, Austria. Diverse in subject matter, theoretical orientation, critical approach, and interpretive strategy, they share a keen scholarly interest in contemporary word-music reflection. Registering the impact of cultural studies on word-music relations, as manifested in the 'new musicology' and other 'historicist' approaches, the volume aims to assess the entire field of word and music studies, to define its subject, objectives, and methodology and to describe the field's state of the art. Within the broader context of generic, structural, performative, and ideological considerations concerning the manifold interrelations between literature and music, contributors explore wide-ranging topics, such as the vexing question of terminology (e.g. 'word and music', 'melopoetics', 'interart', 'intermedial', 'transmedial'); inquiry into the meaning, narrative potential, and verbalization of music; analysis of texted music (the Lied and opera) and instrumental music; and discussion of individual issues (e.g. 'ekphrasis', 'musicalization of fiction', 'word music', and 'verbal music') and interart loanwords (e.g. 'narrativity', 'counterpoint', and 'leitmotif').