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Music and Victorian Liberalism
  • Edited by Sarah Collins, University of Western Australia, Perth

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    Music and Victorian Liberalism
    • Online ISBN: 9781108628778
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Book description

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.


‘This book is a most welcome contribution to the renewed interest in liberalism and music culture. It reveals that Victorian liberal values were shaped by aesthetic debates in which the acts of performing and listening to music played an important role. The essays offer an absorbing illustration of the various tensions between music as recreation and music as a means of control, examining the role of human agency and the endeavour to experience life as an individual liberal subject.'

Derek B. Scott - University of Leeds


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