The Musical Crowd in English Fiction, 1840–1910: Class, by Phyllis Weliver (auth.)

By Phyllis Weliver (auth.)

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Extra info for The Musical Crowd in English Fiction, 1840–1910: Class, Culture and Nation

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The archenemy of Benthamite thought, Thomas Carlyle, sustained a vehement attack against "the monster UTILITARIA" 14 during his lifetime. " 15 Carlyle's criticism of Utilitarianism concentrates on its lack of spirituality. But as John Whale shrewdly remarks when examining Bentham, it is because both aesthetics and religion share similar ground: Like Malthusian population theory, Benthamite radicalism represented a threat to the soul of man. By redefining aesthetics according to a minutely graded calculus of pain and pleasure applied to the social abstract of the general good Bentham questioned some of the most sacred tenets of liberal individualism.

Indeed, this practice figures the issues involved: segregated in reading ability, the choristers nonetheless united in a single musical performance. So was it unity or segregation that occurred through the increasing interest in music? Certainly, working-class music literacy could be seen as having a glass ceiling. Despite the arguments of Tonic Sol-fa's proponents that sol-faing was a step toward learning musical staff notation, it was nonetheless frequently perceived to inhibit this very process, thereby promoting segregation and hierarchy.

I had noticed their gathering, while Graham and his mother were engaged in discussing the belle in blue satin, and had watched with interest the process of arraying and marshalling them. Two gentlemen, in each of whom I recognized an acquaintance, officered this virgin troup. One, an artistic looking man, bearded, and with long hair, was a noted pianiste, and also the first music teacher in Villette; [ ... ] his name was M. Josef Emanuel, and he was half-brother toM. Paul: which potent personage was now visible in the person of the second gentleman.

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