The Victorian liberal discourse has long been explored by scholars of literature, with reference to politics, ethics and aesthetics. Yet studies which focus on music in Victorian culture have paid less attention to these debates, leaving a rich collection of historical and archival detail on the periphery of our understanding of the aesthetic aspects of liberalism. From the impact of the National Sunday League to the reception of Wagner in London, this collection of essays aims to nuance current approaches to the aesthetic facets of liberalism, examining the interaction between music and liberal discourses in Victorian Britain. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, it expands upon previous empirical studies to identify uses and contexts of music across elite and amateur spheres. The significance of music in the Victorian period and its subsequent impact on modern conceptions of self-hood and community is uncovered, revealing a new dimension of Victorian liberalism.
Derek B. Scott - University of Leeds