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Music and Victorian liberalism : composing the liberal subject

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  • Creator edited by Sarah Collins
  • Format Books
  • Contributors
  • Publication Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2019. ©2019
  • Physical Details
    • xiii, 254 pages : illustrations (black and white) ; 26 cm
  • ISBNs 9781108571746, 110870316X, 9781108480055, 9781108703161, 1108480055, 1108571743
  • OCLC on1060177926, on1103220701


  • 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.


  • Includes bibliographical references and index.


  • Aesthetic liberalism / Sarah Collins -- Cultivation and/as control. Musical discipline and victorian liberal reform / Erin Johnson-Williams -- Brightening the lives of the people on Sunday : the National Sunday League and liberal attitudes towards concert promotion in Victorian Britain / Simon McVeigh -- Music and mass education : cultivation or control? / Rosemary Golding -- Dissent, individualism and agency. A musical presence among liberal thinkers : Eliza Flower and her circle, 1832-1845 / Kate Bowan -- That more liberal mode of life : Rosa Newmarch, aestheticism, and queer listening in Victorian and Edwardian Britain / Phillip Ross Bullock -- Character and emotion. Style, character and revelation in Parry's Fourth symphony / Matthew Riley -- The Parrys and Prometheus unbound : actualizing liberalism / Phyllis Weliver -- Liberalism and Victorian musical sympathy / Bennett Zon -- Music and character in the Victorian reception of Wagner : conducting the Philharmonic ca. 1855 / Katherine Fry -- Afterwordz: Liberalism in the round / Peter Mandler
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