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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: 23 September 2021

The Politics of Value

The Politics of Value

(p.166) 5 The Politics of Value

Nathan Waddell

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the music of Beethoven’s so-called ‘late’ period and its representation in the work of Aldous Huxley, among others. Beethoven’s music may or may not embody values over which the politics of authoritarianism arguably can never fully or finally triumph, but it is hard to see what that music can do, practically speaking, when faced with the violent realities of authoritarianism ‘on the ground’: vitriol, fists, weapons, bombs, and tanks. Huxley managed to bring these emphases into a distinctive dialogue with the idea of Beethovenian conventionality. This chapter considers how his most modernist novel, Point Counter Point (1928), affirms the value of Beethoven’s late music; questions the terms of the inter-war musicological consensus which did so much to put that music on a high-cultural pedestal; and uses the implied background of the Beethoven centenary celebrations to dispute the redemptive power of Beethovenolatry in an age of authoritarian entrenchment.

Keywords:   Aldous Huxley, authoritarianism, Beethovenolatry, late period, consensus

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