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Title: Representations of music in late eighteenth-century fiction
Author: Grover, Danielle
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2012
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The first part of this thesis will consider how a range of eighteenth-century novels represented the relationship between non-professional musical performance and femininity. Chapter one will consider music‟s status as a female accomplishment, focussing on the debate about the value of musical accomplishment as it appeared in polemical writing and novels by Jane Austen, Frances Burney, Elizabeth Hervey and anonymous writers. It will examine how far these novelists presented music as a leisure activity that benefitted women in their daily lives and how they responded to a prevalent dichotomy of intellectual endeavour and musical accomplishment. It will trace the changing function of music throughout Jane Austen‟s fiction, placing it in the context of other novels of the time, while arguing that these women writers managed to criticise certain attitudes that motivated the pursuit of musical accomplishment without rejecting music as a creative skill. Broadly, the first chapter will investigate eighteenth-century polemical writing and novels with an eye to examining how musical accomplishment became a marker of femininity in novels. Chapter two will scrutinise the role of concerts in four eighteenth-century novels in order to consider the currency of a binary opposition between non-professional and professional spaces. It will also examine how novelists evaluated such spaces through their representations of musical performance. The second section of chapter two will explore the social and political associations given to musical instruments, examining how far the representation of musical instruments, in Frances Burney‟s Camilla and Sarah Harriet Burney‟s Geraldine Fauconberg led to a criticism of disability and foreignness. Both sections will consider how music has contributed to a debate about the rise of consumerism, the organisation of spaces, the tenuous female move into professionalism and the meaning of the term luxury. I will show that Jane Austen, Frances Burney and Ann Thicknesse responded to the premise that the professional space was an unsafe place for women by including concerts that involve both performing and non-performing heroines in various ways. Thus, they were unafraid to implicitly comment on the divides between the private and public spheres. The second half of the thesis examines responses to music in the eighteenth century by analysing the relationship between music-making, sensibility and the responsive body. The third chapter will assess how male observers and suitors responded to female musicmaking, questioning both how far this altered the way in which sensibility has been understood and the central role of the body in scenes of music making. It will traverse a wider segment of literary genres and include analysis of French and Irish, as well as English, novels to assess how far nationality affected the relationship between gender, sensibility and music. Chapter four will examine musical courtship scenes, considering how far music was used as a tool in courtship and identify it as a language specifically suited to the rules of marriage-making. It will also explore the relationship between music, femininity and courtship in novels published between 1750 and 1814.
Supervisor: Bygrave, Stephen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PE English ; ML Literature of music