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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: 28 September 2021

The Confines of Habit

The Confines of Habit

(p.107) 3 The Confines of Habit

Nathan Waddell

Oxford University Press

The focus of this chapter is on how certain modernist writers, principally E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, and Dorothy Richardson, dramatized the Beethoven-focused experiences of piano-playing young women. Concentrating above all on Richardson’s Pilgrimage, the chapter suggests that the depictions of Beethoven’s music in Richardson’s ‘mega-novel’ represent an attempt to fly by the nets of a musicological tradition—the three-period model of dividing up Beethoven’s career—which had long since defined the terms of how that music is supposedly meant to be categorized and, in being categorized, valued. Whereas the emphasis in Forster’s and Woolf’s work is on what those not playing Beethoven’s music make of the player, the emphasis in Richardson’s is on what the player (and listener) makes of Beethoven. This shift indicates an attempt to get inside and therefore authorize the mind of the young woman pianist, to account for her experiences in a prose that substantiates her moments of being through extended sequences of musical impressions.

Keywords:   E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Richardson, Pilgrimage, women pianists, three-period model

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