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MoonlightingBeethoven and Literary Modernism$
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Nathan Waddell

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198816706

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198816706.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 September 2021

The Idea of the Heroic

The Idea of the Heroic

(p.47) 1 The Idea of the Heroic

Nathan Waddell

Oxford University Press

This chapter re-investigates the influence of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century musicology on the representation of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in E. M. Forster’s Howards End (1910). Concentrating on the idea of the musical heroic, the chapter suggests that Howards End affirms and investigates what was in 1910 a century-old interpretation of a piece whose ‘narrative’, according to E. T. A. Hoffmann, is concerned with ‘the pain of infinite yearning’. Howards End does not simply echo such rhetoric, which by 1910 had been thoroughly institutionalized. Rather, the novel highlights the fact of that very same process of institutionalization. It reveals the normalization of a subjective reading (the claim that this or that piece by Beethoven is heroic) as an inevitable truth (the view that this music is in some sense already constituted by the heroic prior to being interpreted as such).

Keywords:   E. M. Forster, Howards End, heroic, heroism, Beethoven’s Fifth

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