Virginia Woolf, by her own admission, spent her 'youth' in Covent Garden Opera House, as an adult listened almost daily to recordings and broadcasts of classical music, and stated, in 1940, that 'I think of all my books as music before I write them,' This groundbreaking study explores the formative influence of classical music on Woolf's writing, illustrating the importance of music to Woolf's domestic, social and creative lives. Discussing all the novels as well as selected essays and short fiction, Emma Sutton offers detailed commentaries on Woolf's numerous allusions to classical repertoire and to composers including Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Wagner. Sutton explores Woolf's interest in the politics of music, illustrating Woolf's attention to nationalism, class, anti-Semitism and gender in her portraits of musical performance and consumption. The study also examines Woolf's responses to musical aesthetics, exploring the way in which genres including Romantic opera and the string quartet influenced the structure and formal qualities of Woolf's prose.
The analysis of music's role in Woolf's aesthetics and fiction is complemented by critical discussion of her musical education, her extensive consumption of music at public performances and at home, and her friendships and acquaintance with musicians including Ethel Smyth, Nadia Boulanger, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Bruno Walter. In addition, Woolf's enduring, protean interest in music is contextualised within the aesthetic experiments of the Bloomsbury group and her Modernist contemporaries. Key Features *The first book-length study on Woolf and (classical) music, incorporating groundbreaking research *Innovative close readings of all Woolf's novels, and of selected essays and short fiction; unprecedented extended readings of the musical allusions and sub-texts *Places the fiction in fresh biographical, aesthetic and socio-political contexts (eg explores relations between the novels, pre-war musicology and nationalism) *Accessibly written: aimed at advanced undergraduates as well as postgraduates and the scholarly community
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 423 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 18 mm
...should be acquired as a matter of priority by any academic library wanting to keep its collection of Woolf scholarship up to date. -- JAMES ACHESON, Journal of Language, Literature and Culture, 62.2
Sutton's listening is both attentive and inventive, and brings a new sophistication and subtlety to our understanding of musical-literary relations in modernism. -- Will May, University of Southampton, The Review of English Studies