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Title: Performing propaganda : music life and culture in Paris, 1914-1918
Author: Moore, Rachel
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2012
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As the first 'total' war, WWI was a conflict in which every component of civilian life played a fundamental part in the war effort. With the birth of organised propaganda on a large scale during these years, the authorities sought to influence public opinion against the opposition, drawing on the arts, literature, film, and the spoken word as tools of propaganda in a cultural war against Germany. Music was no exception. From musical propaganda missions to neutral countries in a bid to gather support for the French cause, to hyperbolic, anti-Germanic tracts published by leading academicians of the Institut de France and initiatives to eradicate German music and editions from the performance and publishing domains, the music profession played an important part in the nation's battle. The ease of accessibility of sources such as the written tracts produced by members of the Institut de France compared to other sources of information on musical life during the war, along with a tendency for scholars to take these tracts at face value with little consideration of the motives behind their creation and dissemination, has led to currently accepted narratives of a wartime Parisian musical world dominated by nationalistic, if not xenophobic, sentiment, with all musicians engaged in the cultural fight against the enemy. Such narratives tend to rely on a history fabricated by scholars eager to substantiate assumptions about 'appropriate' behaviour in wartime, and reluctant either to search out or examine evidence which might provide an alternative story. Yet case studies of events from the performance and publishing domains suggest a need to question such conventional wisdom, revealing a disjuncture between discourse and practice and highlighting the perils of taking hermeneutic truths as representative of empirical truths. Whilst the extrapolation of practice from discourse is problematic in any study, the issue is accentuated in a period rife with evidence in the form of propaganda. This thesis sheds light on the intricate relationship of wartime discourse and practice in more detail, revealing the complexities facing early official attempts at propaganda, as government constructs of 'appropriate' behaviour were repeatedly challenged by those unwilling to compromise individual interests in the name of patriotism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available