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Self-Portrait of Percy Grainger$
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Malcolm Gillies, David Pear, and Mark Carroll

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195305371

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195305371.001.0001

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(p.125) 6 Self
Self-Portrait of Percy Grainger

Malcolm Gillies

David Pear

Mark Carroll

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides details of Grainger's personal history, from his birth onwards, including the impact his birth had on his parents. There are a series of vignettes from Grainger's philosophical statements and musings over the years, addressing diverse issues from the use and need of holidays, to the importance of instinct and emotions in musical composition, as against “technique.” Anglo-Saxon understanding of art is questioned by Grainger, and the relationship between art, race, and nation. The centrality of race to Grainger's life outlook is established, as is his perception of race and beauty as inextricably linked. Nordic lifestyles are exalted by Grainger, who equally criticizes “lower races” for taking advantages of the work of Nordic peoples. Extracts demonstrate Grainger's self-awareness of his increasing sense of failure and irritability as he grew older. The chapter concludes with further statements made by Grainger regarding his sexual interest in sado-masochism, and his belief in the necessity of pornography for the sexual health of the “vigorous male.”

Keywords:   Percy Grainger, philosophy, holidays, emotions, composition technique, Anglo-Saxon, Nordic, sado-masochism, pornography

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