Music was an essential aspect of life in eighteenth-century Britain and plays a crucial role in the literary strategies of Georgian novels. This book is the first to investigate the literary representation of music in these works and explores the structural, dramatic and metaphorical roles of music in novels by authors ranging from Richardson to Austen. Pierre Dubois explores the meaning of 'musical scenes' by framing them within contemporary cultural issues, such as the critique of Italian opera or the theoretical shift from mimesis to the alleged autonomy and mystery of music. Focusing upon both eighteenth-century theories of music, and the way specific musical instruments were perceived in the collective imagination, Dubois suggests new interpretative perspectives for a whole range of novels of the Georgian era. This book will be of interest to a wide readership interested not only in literature, but also in music and cultural history at large.
Pierre Dubois is Emeritus Professor of eighteenth-century English studies at Universite de Tours. He was Senior Lecturer at Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV) from 1997 to 2008 and in 2012 he was a visiting fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. The editor of Charles Avison's 'Essay on Musical Expression' and Related Writings by Charles Avison and William Hayes (2004), his 2009 book La conquete du mystere musical en Angleterre au siecle des Lumieres was awarded the 2010 Research Prize of the French Societe des Anglicistes de l'Enseignement Superieur (SAES). A self-taught musician, he is the incumbent organist of the historic F.-H. Clicquot organ (1783) of Souvigny (Allier, France) and artistic director of the Journees Musicales d'Automne there. He is also chairman of Sauvegarde de l'Orgue de la Sorbonne, an association he founded for the preservation, restoration and promotion of the historic Dallery organ (1825) of the Sorbonne.
Introduction; Part I. Sound and Sense: Moral Issues: 1. Prelude: Italian opera and English oratorio; 2. The English Orpheus; 3. Damnable pleasures; 4. The natural voice and the ideal of purity; 5. Malodorous soundscapes and musical incenses; Part II. Sentiment and Sensibility: 6. The perimeter of the sentimental mode; 7. The crisis of language; 8. The impression of harmony; 9. The salutary remanence of discords; 10. The inexpressible mystery of music; 11. The music of feeling; 12. Pastoral music; Part III. Sweet Music and the Sublime: 13. Theory of the musical sublime; 14. The musical sublime and ideological control; 15. Ann Radcliffe's feminine sublime; Part IV. Music as a Vehicle for Female Identity: 16. The musical and novelistic perimeters of feminine sensibility; 17. Intimations of musical gendering: Anne Hughes, Caroline; 18. Instruments of a new sensibility; 19. Sensibility and affectation: Jane West, Maria Edgeworth, Elizabeth Inchbald; 20. Variations on a feminine theme: Frances Burney's musical heroines; 21. Jane Austen: music, woman and the middle-way; Conclusion.