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Sylvia Townsend Warner: a musical life

Mutti, Lynn Janet; (2019) Sylvia Townsend Warner: a musical life. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Music was central to Warner's life: she was first a young, aspiring composer, then a musicologist, later a librettist and friend to musicians and composers, and for fifty years a writer whose works regularly engaged with music in richly diverse ways. Unpublished diary entries show her knowledgeable and personal response to music heard in the concert hall, on the radio, via gramophone records or as a participant in a choir. Her ear was tuned to sound, especially sound in nature:water, birds, animals, the sea, the wind, as well as the cacophony of human voices, singing, shouting, joyous or sad. Warner's acute ear tuned in to the life around her and articulated it in her written work. A late diary entry just a few months before her death shows her frailty and the continuing importance of music in her daily life. Sound and music are contained in one eloquently descriptive passage: 'I fell against the tool-shed with a loud clang. Little the worse. Revived by a fine performance of the Pastoral Symphony'. My aims in this thesis are to present the fullest narrative yet of Warner's engagement with music, to examine her academic writing on the subject and to recount her musical collaborations and friendships which have not previously been a subject for academic discussion. My research draws both on printed sources and on previously unexplored archives to give information about music from Warner's childhood until the end of her life. Music is woven through Warner's creative writing, too, and this is briefly discussed within chapters of the thesis. The importance of music to Warner has often been noted but never until now researched. This biographical account of music in her life will provide another focus for ongoing academic study and analysis of her literary work.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Sylvia Townsend Warner: a musical life
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10084157
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