The Figure of Music in Nineteenth-Century British Poetry  book cover
1st Edition

The Figure of Music in Nineteenth-Century British Poetry

Edited By

Phyllis Weliver

ISBN 9781138263567
Published November 15, 2016 by Routledge
288 Pages

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Book Description

How was music depicted in and mediated through Romantic and Victorian poetry? This is the central question that this specially commissioned volume of essays sets out to explore in order to understand better music's place and its significance in nineteenth-century British culture. Analysing how music took part in and commented on a wide range of scientific, literary, and cultural discourses, the book expands our knowledge of how music was central to the nineteenth-century imagination. Like its companion volume, The Idea of Music in Victorian Fiction (Ashgate, 2004) edited by Sophie Fuller and Nicky Losseff, this book provides a meeting place for literary studies and musicology, with contributions by scholars situated in each field. Areas investigated in these essays include the Romantic interest in national musical traditions; the figure of the Eolian harp in the poetry of Coleridge and Shelley; the recurring theme of music in Blake's verse; settings of Tennyson by Parry and Elgar that demonstrate how literary representations of musical ideas are refigured in music; George Eliot's use of music in her poetry to explore literary and philosophical themes; music in the verse of Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti; the personification of lyric (Sappho) in a song cycle by Granville and Helen Bantock; and music and sexual identity in the poetry of Wilde, Symons, Michael Field, Beardsley, Gray and Davidson.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Scotch drink & Irish harps: mediations of the national air, Celeste Langan; 'Suspended' sense in Alastor: Shelley's musical trope and 18th-century medical discourse, Kimiyo Ogawa; On music framed: the Eolian harp in romantic writing, Susan Bernstein; Music and inspiration in Blake's poetry, John Hughes; 'Music their larger soul': George Eliot's 'The Legend of Jubal' and Victorian musicality, Ruth A. Solie; Musical reactions to Tennyson: reformulating musical imagery in 'The Lotos-Eaters', Michael Allis; 'Monna Innominata' and Christina Rossetti's audible unhappiness, Yeo Wei Wei; The 'silent song' of D.G. Rossetti's The House of Life, Phyllis Weliver; 'The Music Spoke for Us': music and sexuality in fin-de-siècle poetry, Emma Sutton; Sappho recomposed: a song cycle by Granville and Helen Bantock, Yopie Prins; Index.

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Phyllis Weliver is Assistant Professor of English at Saint Louis University, USA


’Ashgate are ahead of the field in studies of nineteenth-century music, and this is a valuable addition to their cross-disciplinary list... [the] volume is [...] a significant one, stimulating, and wide-ranging. Its distinction lies chiefly in the freshness of its topic and the articulation of methods through which that topic can be discussed. The most accomplished of its essays will set standards against which future considerations of this subject will be measured.’ Music and Letters ’Phyllis Weliver's collection, new to Ashgate's 'Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain' series, deserves praise for its breadth, balance, and depth... All of the essays are meticulously researched and carefully argued... a stimulating and solid volume. Those with an interest in nineteenth-century British music, or connection between music and literature, will find much to ponder here.’ NABMSA Newsletter