The Idea of Music in Victorian Fiction

The assumption of song in Victorian Fiction seeks to deal with primary questions on the functionality, that means and knowing of tune in nineteenth-century tradition and society, as mediated via works of fiction. The 11 essays the following, written through musicologists and literary students, diversity over a big variety of works through either canonical writers comparable to Austen, Benson, Carlyle, Collins, Gaskell, Gissing, Eliot, Hardy, du Maurier and Wilde, and less-well-known figures comparable to Gertrude Hudson and Elizabeth Sara Sheppard. each one essay explores varied innovations for reading the belief of song within the Victorian novel. a few concentrate on the measure to which scenes concerning tune light up what song intended to the author and modern performers and listeners, and represent musical tastes of the time and the reception of specific composers. different essays within the quantity study features of gender, race, sexuality and sophistication which are illuminated through the deployment of song by means of the novelist. including its spouse quantity, The determine of song in Nineteenth-Century British Poetry edited through Phyllis Weliver (Ashgate, 2005), this assortment indicates a brand new community of methodologies for the ongoing cultural and social research of nineteenth-century song as mirrored in that period's literary output.

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The Idea of Music in Victorian Fiction

The belief of track in Victorian Fiction seeks to handle basic questions about the functionality, that means and knowing of tune in nineteenth-century tradition and society, as mediated via works of fiction. The 11 essays right here, written by means of musicologists and literary students, variety over a big variety of works by means of either canonical writers corresponding to Austen, Benson, Carlyle, Collins, Gaskell, Gissing, Eliot, Hardy, du Maurier and Wilde, and less-well-known figures akin to Gertrude Hudson and Elizabeth Sara Sheppard.

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MB, 39) In giving voice to their characters in an ‘authentic language’, the authors allow them to stand outside the boundaries of their class. The music they sing (folk songs, music composed within the family, own compositions, ‘canzonets’)64 takes their listeners beyond social class, which then becomes irrelevant. 63 John Goode, George Gissing: Ideology and Fiction (London: Vision, 1978) 101. Margaret ‘knew no modern music’ but ‘poured her rich voice out in some of the old canzonets she had lately learnt’ (MB, 145).

Reticent in describing the squalor of poverty, Gaskell never discusses exactly what flows down the gutter in the middle of the Bartons’ or Margaret’s and Alice’s streets. The closest she ever comes to acknowledging that sanitary conditions among the poor were inadequate is during a discussion of the Davenports’ quarters, where ‘heaps of ashes [covering excrement] were the stepping stones … on which the passer-by … took care not to put his foot’ (MB, 66). Even though Margaret herself does not have to live next to a smell ‘so fetid as almost to knock … men down’, the ‘deserving poor’ still inhabit an olfactory space distinguished from middle- and upper-class habitations by its unpleasantness – and, more importantly, its perceived inherent unhealthiness, since diseases like cholera were associated with bad air rather than bad water until well into the 1860s,39 long after Mary Barton and Alton Locke were written.

This militates somewhat against Alisa Clapp’s claim that Will ‘sees the sexual woman more than the musician’. Alisa Clapp, ‘The City, the Country, and Communities of Singing Women: Music in the Novels of Elizabeth Gaskell’ in Victorian Urban Settings: Essays on the 18 NICKY LOSSEFF home environment is another key to her intimate self. She lives with her grandfather, Job Legh, whose has a peculiar physique and whose eyes absolutely gleamed with intelligence; so keen, so observant, you felt as if they were almost wizard-like.

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