Saturday, 17 May 2014

Men, Women and Guitars in Romantic England: Public Lectures

Having been appointed Gresham Professor of Music, Christopher Page will deliver what sounds like a very interesting series of six public lectures on Men, Women and Guitars in Romantic England: 

According to the press release, ‘The guitar is arguably the most widely cultivated instrument in the world. At a time when fifty or more pianos are broken up for scrap in Britain every week – sad relics of Victorian parlour entertainment – sales of guitars have never been higher.Nonetheless, it has been almost universally forgotten that there was an intense guitar craze in England between about 1800 and 1835, spanning the lifetimes of Keats, Byron, Shelley and Coleridge, and a craze whose history has never been traced. Histories of English music and society in the nineteenth century continue to be written as if it never happened, and yet the instrument was cultivated from the royal family in the person of Princess Charlotte (d. 1817) down to the poorest laundress. This is much more than the story of an instrument and its music: the rise of romanticism, the creation of an urban poor hungry for self improvement, the proliferation of newspapers, serialised fiction and printed sheet music, the social position of women and other aspects of English society and culture in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars all have a place within it.’

Each lecture will last an hour, and will be open free to the public, taking place between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on selected Thursdays at the Church of St Sepulchre-Without-Newgate, Holborn: 

The ‘Romantic’ Guitar (9 October 2014)
Being a Guitarist in the time of Byron and Shelley (20 November 2014)
The Guitar, the Steamship and the Picnic: England on the move (11 December 2014)
The Guitar and the Romantic Vision of the Medieval World (8 January 2015)
Harmony in the Lowest Home: The Guitar and the labouring poor (19 February 2015)
The guitar and ‘the fair sex’ (23 April 2015)

In addition, all lectures will be recorded and released online for free, so those of us unable to attend will have a second (and indeed third) bite at the cherry.

Click here for further details.