Advertisement

Neohelicon

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 89–103 | Cite as

Wagner or Beethoven?

Shifts in the Musical Taste of Virginia Woolf
  • Mihály Szegedy-Maszák
Article
  • 237 Downloads

Abstract

The essay focuses on the role music played in Virginia Woolf’s life and writings. By relying on information gleaned from her diaries, correspondence, essays, and fiction, on Leonard Woolf’s autobiography and his reviews of gramophone recordings, as well as on the critical and autobiographical works of their contemporaries, the author gives a detailed analysis of Virginia Woolf’s musical background and education. He sees continuity between her early opera-going experiences and her later interest in the string quartets and piano sonatas of Beethoven, arguing that a major artist never forgets the inspiration of early, formative years. Furthermore, this essay addresses complex questions of whether and how a comparison of music and literature can lead to a better understanding of Virginia Woolf’s works.

Keywords

The “presence” of music in literary works Musical life in Great Britain in the early twentieth century The role of music in the life of Virginia and Leonard Woolf (attending opera performances, concerts, and recitals, listening to gramophone records) The impact of the works of Beethoven, Wagner, and other composers on Virginia Woolf’s fiction Rhythm in music and narrative prose 

References

  1. Donington, R. (1974). Wagner’s “Ring” and its symbols (3rd ed.). London, Boston: Faber and Faber.Google Scholar
  2. Genette, G. (1999). Figures IV. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  3. Grigoriev, S. L. (1960). In V. Bowen (Ed., Trans.) The Diagilev Ballet 1909–1929. Middlesex: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  4. Haller, E. (1993). Her quill drawn from the firebird: Virginia Woolf and the Russian dancers. In F. G. Diane (Ed.), The multiple muses of Virginia Woolf (pp. 180–226). Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press.Google Scholar
  5. Jacobs, P. (1993). The second violin tuning in the ante-room: Virginia Woolf and Music. In F. G. Diane (Ed.), The multiple muses of Virginia Woolf (pp. 227–260). Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press.Google Scholar
  6. Kelley, J. E. (2010). Virginia Woolf and music. In H. Maggie (Ed.), The Edinburgh companion to Virginia Woolf and the arts (pp. 417–436). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Levin, G. (1983). The musical style of The Waves. The Journal of Narrative Technique, 13, 164–171.Google Scholar
  8. Messiaen, O. (1936). Ariane et Barbe-Bleue. La Revue Musicale, 132–136, 79–86.Google Scholar
  9. Miller, J. H. (1983). Mr Carmichael and Lily Briscoe: The rhythm of creativity in To the Lighthouse. In K. Robert (Ed.), J. Hildebidle (Assist.), Modernism reconsidered (pp. 167–189). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Noble, J. R. (Ed.). (1972). Recollections of Virginia Woolf. London: Peter Owen.Google Scholar
  11. Stravinsky, I. F. (1962). In Conversation with Robert Craft. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  12. Wagner, R. (n. d.). Gesammelte Schriften und Dichtungen: Neunter Band. Herausgegeben von Wolfgang Golther. Berlin: Bong & Co.Google Scholar
  13. Wood, H. (1961). English contemporary music. In H. Hartog (Ed.), European music in the twentieth century (Revised ed., pp. 145–170). Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  14. Woolf, L. (1929a). New gramophone records. The Nation and Athenaeum, 18, 252.Google Scholar
  15. Woolf, L. (1929b). New gramophone records. The Nation and Athenaeum, 20, 543.Google Scholar
  16. Woolf, V. (1937). The years. London: The Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  17. Woolf, V. (1963). In D. M. Hoare (Introduction) To the lighthouse. London: Dent Everyman’s Library.Google Scholar
  18. Woolf, L. (1964). Beginning again: An autobiography of the years 1911–1918. London: The Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  19. Woolf, V. (1965). The voyage out. London: The Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  20. Woolf, L. (1967). Downhill all the way: An autobiography of the Years 1919–1939. London: The Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  21. Woolf, L. (1975). The journey not the arrival matters: An autobiography of the years 1939 to 1969. New York and London: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.Google Scholar
  22. Woolf, V. (1975). The flight of the mind the letters of Virginia Woolf (Vol. I, pp. 1888–1912). London: The Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  23. Woolf, V. (1976). In N. Nicolson (Ed.), J. Trautmann (Assistant Ed.), The question of things happening: The letters of Virginia Woolf (Vol. II: 1912–1922). London: The Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  24. Woolf, V. (1977). In N. Nicolson (Ed.), J. Trautmann (Assistant Ed.), A chance of perspective: The letters of Virginia Woolf (Vol. III: 1923–1928). London: The Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  25. Woolf, V. (1978a). In N. Nicolson (Ed.), J. Trautmann (Assistant Ed.), A reflection of the other person: The letters of Virginia Woolf (Volume IV: 1929–1931). London: The Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  26. Woolf, V. (1978b). In J. Schulkind (Edited with an introduction and notes), Moments of being: Unpublished autobiographical writings. Herts: Triad Panther.Google Scholar
  27. Woolf, V. (1979a). In A. O. Bell (Ed.), Q. Bell (Introduced), The diary (Vol. 1: 1915–1919). Middlesex: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  28. Woolf, V. (1979b). In N. Nicolson (Ed.), J. Trautmann (Assistant Ed.), The sickle side of the moon: The letters of Virginia Woolf (Vol. V: 1932–1935). London: The Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  29. Woolf, L. (1980a). An autobiography with an introduction by Quentin Bell (Vol. 1, pp. 1880–1911). Oxford—New York—Toronto—Melbourne: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Woolf, V. (1980b) In N. Nicolson (Ed.), J. Trautmann (Assistant Ed.), Leave the letters till we’re dead: The letters of Virginia Woolf (Vol VI: 1936–1941). London: The Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  31. Woolf, V. (1981). In A. O. Bell (Ed.), A. McNeillie (Assist.), The diary (Vol. II: 1920–1924). Middlesex: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  32. Woolf, V. (1982). In A. O. Bell (Ed.), The diary (Vol III: 1925–1930). Middlesex: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  33. Woolf, V. (1983). A. O. Bell (Ed.), A. McNeillie (Assist.), The diary (Vol. IV: 1931–1935).Google Scholar
  34. Woolf, V. (1985). In A. O. Bell (Ed.), A. McNeillie (Assist.), The diary (Vol. V: 1936–1941).Google Scholar
  35. Woolf, V. (1986) In A. McNeillie (Ed.), The essays (Vol. I: 1904–1912). San Diego: Harcourt.Google Scholar
  36. Woolf, V. (1987). In A. McNeillie (Ed.), The essays (Vol. II: 1912–1918). San Diego: Harcourt.Google Scholar
  37. Woolf, V. (1988). In A. McNeillie (Ed.), The essays. (Vol. III: 1919–1924). San Diego: Harcourt.Google Scholar
  38. Woolf, V. (1989). In S. Dick (Ed.), The complete shorter fiction (2nd ed.). San Diego: Harcourt.Google Scholar
  39. Woolf, V. (1994). In A. McNeillie (Ed.), The essays (Vol. IV: 1925–1928). Orlando: Harcourt.Google Scholar
  40. Woolf, V. (2002). In L. DeSalvo (Introduction, Ed.,). Melymbrosia. San Francisco: Cleis Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Comparative Literature and Cultural StudiesEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary

Personalised recommendations