Monday, July 29, 2013

New Content: Arthur Sullivan's "The Lost Chord" Live on Songs of the Victorians

I've now added new content to Songs of the Victorians!  Users can now view the archive page and the analysis page of Sir Arthur Sullivan's "The Lost Chord" (1877), a song setting of Adelaide Procter's "A Lost Chord" (1860).  Many of you may know "The Lost Chord," since it, along with Balfe's "Come into the Garden, Maud," is one of the most famous Victorian parlor songs.  It has often been interpreted as a sentimental poem about the vital importance of religion and religious music in an uncertain world, but these interpretations do not take into account the surprising harmonic twists and the publication contexts of the poem (the poem was first published in The Englishwoman's Journal, a feminist periodical, and later in Legends and Lyrics, a volume of Procter's collected works).  I'm arguing that the song actually undercuts the expected sentimental solace and gives the poem new access to the political and social message of its two publication contexts: it unites the feminist and the religiously questioning reading.  By examining the musical reception history of Procter’s poem through multiple incarnations and remediations, we can rediscover this “lost chord,” hear its overlooked commentaries on women’s lives and religious doubt, and reinstate it in the polyphony of critical discourse.

The final section of Songs of the Victorians (until I start accepting submissions from other scholars), on Arthur Somervell's Maud (1898), a song cycle that uses Alfred Tennyson's monodrama Maud (1855) as text, is almost done.  I hope to have it go live next week.

I'd love to hear your comments on this new section, so please leave your thoughts below.  Thanks!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I'm back in Charlottesville after five weeks of traveling in Europe for conferences.  I had a wonderful time both at NAVSA Venice (read my thoughts on the conference and workshop here) and at the Ninth Biennial Conference on Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain, held in Cardiff.  I met many scholars whose work I've admired and quoted for years and met many new colleagues and friends, and Songs of the Victorians received an enthusiastic response.  Next week, I'll be posting news about more updates to Songs of the Victorians (including, I hope, an announcement that the archive and analysis pages for the next song are live).

For this week, I wanted to inform you of two interviews I've given since getting back in the country about my digital projects.  First, I was interviewed by feminist blogger Jaclyn Munson for "Onward and F-Word" as part of her "women to watch series" about my research, digital projects, and investment in feminism.  I was honored to be the first woman interviewed in this group, and you can read the interview here.

This morning, my interview about Augmented Notes with Hope Leman for Critical Margins went live. As many of you probably know, Critical Margins is a blog on "book culture, technology, reading, and publishing in the digital age."  My interview is part of a series that Hope is conducting about advances in digital publishing, and I'm thrilled to be included.  If you want to learn more about Augmented Notes, you can read that interview here.

More next week!