The French composer Olivier Messiaen is one of the major figures of twentieth-century music. This collection of scholarly essays offers new cultural, historical, biographical and analytical perspectives on Messiaen's musical oeuvre from 1941 to 1992. The volume includes: a fascinating snapshot of Messiaen's life in occupied France; a study of the Surrealist poetics of Messiaen's song cycle Harawi; a chapter on Messiaen's iconoclastic path to the avant-garde heritage that he bequeathed to his pupils; discussion on Messiaen's place in twentieth-century music; and detailed analysis of specific works, including his opera St Francois d'Assise. The chapters provide fresh insights on the origins, style and poetics of Messiaen's music, and therefore provide an inspiration and foundation for future scholarship. Reflecting and expanding upon the broad range of Messiaen's own interdisciplinary interests, the book will be of interest to students and scholars of music, art, literature and theology.