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Figures of the imagination: the intersection of fiction and song, 1790-1830

Figures of the imagination: the intersection of fiction and song, 1790-1830
Figures of the imagination: the intersection of fiction and song, 1790-1830
This thesis explores relationships between music produced around 1800 for domestic consumption and the fictional genre of romance – a genre of fantastic atmospheres, settings and characters, quest plots with dramatic events, and a sense of antiquity and desire that represents remoteness and addresses the cultural periphery. What this fiction says about music offers a new view of romanticism in British print culture, making this thesis serve as counterhistory to studies of nineteenth-century European operatic and orchestral canons and their links with later fiction.

I survey the use of music in romance novels by Ann Radcliffe, Matthew Lewis, Sir Walter Scott and James Hogg in the period 1790-1830, interrogating the ways that music served to create mood and atmosphere, enlivened social scenes and contributed to plot developments. I explore the connections between musical scenes in romance fiction and the domestic song literature – short accompanied songs, both sacred and secular, by composers such as Thomas Attwood, John Wall Callcott, Matthew Cooke, John Baptist Cramer, John Barnett, François Hippolyte Barthélemon, Charles Dibdin, William Hawes, Thomas Moore, John Parry, William Reeve, Reginald Spofforth, and Sir John Stevenson.

My intersectional reading revolves around a series of imaginative figures – including the minstrel, fairies, ghosts, witches, and other supernatural figures, and Christians engaged both in virtue and vice – the identities of which remained generally consistent as influence passed between the art forms. While authors quoted song lyrics and included musical descriptions and characters, their novels recorded and modelled the performance of songs by the middle and upper classes, influencing the work of composers and the actions of contemporary performers who read romance fiction.

My thesis shows how the intersection of romances with vocal music recorded a society on the cusp of modernisation, with a printing industry emerging to serve people’s growing appetites for entertainment amidst their changing views of religion and the occult. No mere diversion, fiction was integral to musical culture and together both art forms reveal key intellectual currents that circulated in the early nineteenth-century British home.
Hansford, Roger
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Hansford, Roger
b3f6beb0-2e72-48e1-b227-89186c1a04fd
Hammond, Elizabeth
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Brooks, Jeanice
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Hansford, Roger (2014) Figures of the imagination: the intersection of fiction and song, 1790-1830. University of Southampton, Department of Music, Doctoral Thesis, 368pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis explores relationships between music produced around 1800 for domestic consumption and the fictional genre of romance – a genre of fantastic atmospheres, settings and characters, quest plots with dramatic events, and a sense of antiquity and desire that represents remoteness and addresses the cultural periphery. What this fiction says about music offers a new view of romanticism in British print culture, making this thesis serve as counterhistory to studies of nineteenth-century European operatic and orchestral canons and their links with later fiction.

I survey the use of music in romance novels by Ann Radcliffe, Matthew Lewis, Sir Walter Scott and James Hogg in the period 1790-1830, interrogating the ways that music served to create mood and atmosphere, enlivened social scenes and contributed to plot developments. I explore the connections between musical scenes in romance fiction and the domestic song literature – short accompanied songs, both sacred and secular, by composers such as Thomas Attwood, John Wall Callcott, Matthew Cooke, John Baptist Cramer, John Barnett, François Hippolyte Barthélemon, Charles Dibdin, William Hawes, Thomas Moore, John Parry, William Reeve, Reginald Spofforth, and Sir John Stevenson.

My intersectional reading revolves around a series of imaginative figures – including the minstrel, fairies, ghosts, witches, and other supernatural figures, and Christians engaged both in virtue and vice – the identities of which remained generally consistent as influence passed between the art forms. While authors quoted song lyrics and included musical descriptions and characters, their novels recorded and modelled the performance of songs by the middle and upper classes, influencing the work of composers and the actions of contemporary performers who read romance fiction.

My thesis shows how the intersection of romances with vocal music recorded a society on the cusp of modernisation, with a printing industry emerging to serve people’s growing appetites for entertainment amidst their changing views of religion and the occult. No mere diversion, fiction was integral to musical culture and together both art forms reveal key intellectual currents that circulated in the early nineteenth-century British home.

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More information

Published date: 1 May 2014
Organisations: University of Southampton, Philosophy

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 366433
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/366433
PURE UUID: f13a3c34-8032-4026-ac4c-8d227d91a454

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Date deposited: 15 Jul 2014 08:28
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 04:32

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Contributors

Author: Roger Hansford
Thesis advisor: Elizabeth Hammond
Thesis advisor: Jeanice Brooks

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