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“Invitation pour la danse”: Social dance, dance music and feminine identity in the English country house c.1770-1860

Faulds, Katrina (2015) “Invitation pour la danse”: Social dance, dance music and feminine identity in the English country house c.1770-1860 University of Southampton, Fauculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis , 389pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)


The engagement of landed elite women with dance music in the early nineteenth century and the contribution that such music made to the formation of female identity has received limited scholarly attention. While research on social dance has brought to life the cultural complexities of the ballroom, and investigations into the influence of dance on principally canonical repertoire have enriched our understanding of the intersections that occurred between music and dance, the actual collection and domestic performance of dance music itself has largely lain forgotten. The English country house provides a locus through which elite women’s participation in dance and domestic music-making can be conceptualised and reconstructed. Tatton Park, the Cheshire estate of the Egerton family, contains a significant body of music ranging across several generations of women. The dance music belonging to Elizabeth Egerton (1777-1853), her daughter-inlaw, Lady Charlotte Egerton (1811-1878), and Elizabeth’s daughter, Charlotte Egerton (1824-1845), provides the basis for a series of case studies that examine links between the music they collected and the social dance activities with which they were engaged. The conception of elite women’s participation in dance as expressed by contemporary authors, and the performance of dance in other country houses as documented in newspaper and archival sources, proffer a framework through which the case studies can be interpreted and thus how concepts of elite femininity were negotiated through dance music. This study forms part of a burgeoning scholarly interest in domestic music-making in the English country house and complements two recent theses on the Tatton Park collection. What emerges is a sense of the myriad ways in which early nineteenth-century dance music was embedded in the fabric of cultural life for elite women, and how it both affirmed and negated contemporary discourses on appropriate feminine comportment.

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Published date: March 2015
Organisations: University of Southampton, Music


Local EPrints ID: 378156
PURE UUID: b32606af-9125-4b16-b953-47f658ee86f8

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Date deposited: 14 Jul 2015 09:13
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 20:54

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Author: Katrina Faulds
Thesis advisor: Laura Brooks

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