Music in E. M. Forster’s A Room with a View and Howards End: The Conflicting Presentation of Nineteenth-Century Aesthetics

Moss, Gemma (2016) Music in E. M. Forster’s A Room with a View and Howards End: The Conflicting Presentation of Nineteenth-Century Aesthetics. English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920, 59 (4). pp. 493-509. ISSN 00138339 (ISSN)

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Abstract

This article analyses music in A Room with A View and Howards End to explore the presence of receding nineteenth– and emerging twentieth–century approaches to music. The different and contradictory ways music is presented can be understood as competing notions of what music is and means. This is related to a wider cultural shift occurring at the start of the twentieth century as composers and writers were, as Josh Epstein claims, ‘digesting, not annihilating’ their musical and artistic inheritance. To date, scholarly work on Forster and music tries to resolve contradictions in the texts: biographical information is recruited to produce readings that are consistent with his documented musical preferences and political opinions. Using T.W. Adorno’s writing on Beethoven and Mahler, I analyse the different guises in which music appears in Forster’s novels to show that music is a site of conflict. Residues of nineteenth-century aestheticism are contained in the depictions of ‘sublime’ music, while at other times music is shown to be a product of existing material conditions.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q300 English studies
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > School of English
Depositing User: Gemma Moss
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2018 12:22
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2018 13:10
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6485

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