Modernist writers listening to music
Round table: Modernist writers listening to music
Dr Fiona Richards, The Open University, Dr Sue Reid, independent scholar/University of Northampton and Fraser Riddell, Durham University
This session focuses on authors and their listening, moving chronologically from the late nineteenth century to the 1950s. The round table opens with a brief, broad introduction to the topic of authors listening to music, with a particular focus on modernist writers. There are then three short presentations. Fraser Riddell talks about Vernon Lee and Wagner, after which Sue Reid considers how listening practices shifted pre and post war through a comparison of D.H. Lawrence and Anthony Burgess. As a fan of live performance, Lawrence’s tastes were more traditional, including hymns, folk songs and ‘parlour’ music – while Burgess had a huge collection of recordings on vinyl. Finally, Fiona Richards moves to the other side of the world to focus on Australian authors using music to inform their writing, concentrating on Patrick White, whose carefully charted and eclectic listening habits find an output in his novels.