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‘Music is not merely for musicians’: Vernon Lee's musical reading and response

Towheed, Shafquat (2010). ‘Music is not merely for musicians’: Vernon Lee's musical reading and response. Yearbook of English Studies, 40(1-2) pp. 273–294.

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This essay examines Vernon Lee's wide-ranging, informed and often interdisciplinary reading about music, and demonstrates its centrality for her as a late 19th century intellectual preoccupation. Drawing upon unpublished sources (including commonplace books and marginalia), her reading of Gurney, Wundt, and Weismann, and exchanges with Ethel Smyth, I argue that Lee tried to bridge the increasing gap between professional musicians and mass audiences by examining how music might be assimilated and appreciated. Scrutinising Lee's distinction between active listening and passive hearing, this essay interrogates her determination to write not merely for musicians but for a non-specialist audience as well.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2010 Modern Humanities Research Association
ISSN: 0306-2473
Keywords: Vernon Lee; interdisciplinary reading; music; commonplace books; marginalia; Edmund Gurney; Wilhelm Wundt; August Weismann; Dame Ethel Smyth; active listening; passive hearing; Reading Experience Database
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Cultures
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: Literature and Music Research Group
History of Books and Reading (HOBAR)
Item ID: 20186
Depositing User: Shafquat Towheed
Date Deposited: 12 May 2010 19:41
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2018 10:46
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