• THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES: MUSIC AND THE GENDERED MIND IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY BRITAIN

      Mitchell, Sally, 1937-; Logan, Peter Melville, 1951-; Newman, Steve, 1970-; Solie, Ruth A. (Temple University. Libraries, 2010)
      This interdisciplinary study examines how nineteenth-century British ideas about music reflected and influenced the period's gendering of the mind. So far, studies of Victorian psychology have focused on the last half of the century only, and have tended to elide gender from the discussion. This study will contribute to a fuller picture of nineteenth-century psychology by demonstrating that the mind began to be increasingly gendered in the early part of the century but was largely de-gendered by century's end. In addition, because music was an art form in which gender norms were often subverted yet simultaneously upheld as conventional, this study will also contribute to a fuller understanding of the extent to which domestic ideology was considered descriptive or prescriptive. This work makes use of but differs from previous studies of music in nineteenth-century British literature in both scope and argument. Drawing throughout on the work of contemporary music historians and feminist musicologists, as well as general and musical periodicals, newspapers, essays, and treatises from the long nineteenth century, this dissertation argues that music, as a field, was increasingly compartmentalized beginning early in the century, and then unified again by century's end. This division and re-unification reflected changing conceptions of the mind, and coincided with the waxing and waning of domestic ideology. Analyzing a range of literary texts, both canonical and non-canonical, in this context demonstrates that music was portrayed increasingly negatively over the century as it became harder and harder to contain the increasing threat that music posed to traditional gender norms, a threat based in a view of music that began to imply mental equality between men and women. This implication was embraced by some, particularly homosexuals, and feared by others, who tried to rescue traditional norms by displacing gender ambiguity onto foreigners and Jews. Thus, the rise and fall of domestic ideology as well as end-of-century changes in the manifestation of xenophobia and anti-Semitism are related not only to industrialism and Evangelicalism and other historical events but also to changing ideas about the gender of the mind, reflected in and influenced by changing ideas about music.