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Evolution and Victorian Musical Culture
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Book description

This engaging book explores the dynamic relationship between evolutionary science and musical culture in Victorian Britain, drawing upon a wealth of popular scientific and musical literature to contextualize evolutionary theories of the Darwinian and non-Darwinian revolutions. Bennett Zon uses musical culture to question the hegemonic role ascribed to Darwin by later thinkers, and interrogates the conceptual premise of modern debates in evolutionary musicology. Structured around the Great Chain of Being, chapters are organized by discipline in successively ascending order according to their object of study, from zoology and the study of animal music to theology and the music of God. Evolution and Victorian Musical Culture takes a non-Darwinian approach to the interpretation of Victorian scientific and musical interrelationships, debunking the idea that the arts had little influence on contemporary scientific ideas and, by probing the origins of musical interdisciplinarity, the volume shows how music helped ideas about evolution to evolve.

Reviews

'… Zon’s engaging, authoritative, far-reaching study will be required reading for those interested in nineteenth-century culture at large. Evolution and Victorian Musical Culture will be of particular value to those researching histories of music, science, aesthetics, pedagogy, or those working at the intersections of these disciplines.'

Rebecca Spence Source: BSLS Review (www.bsls.ac.uk)

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