"Songs of the Victorians" at the MLA

I presented “Songs of the Victorians” and “Augmented Notes” at the MLA on Friday on panel 207, “Diversifying the Victorian Verse Archive.”  Phyllis Weliver, who organized the panel, presented first, and Yopie Prins concluded our session, with Meredith Martin moderating.  Phyllis spoke about audio recordings of Tennyson reading his poetry and on how his wife’s musical settings of his verse can give modern readers a sense of Tennyson’s desired meter, since both musical settings and audio recordings expand our conventional understanding of Victorian verse.  I built on Phyllis’ justification of musical settings of poetry as legitimate grounds for scholarly inquiry and explained how traditional print media is insufficient for discussing musical settings or archival preservation by demonstrating what “Songs of the Victorians” and “Augmented Notes” have to offer (you can read my paper here).  Yopie then presented on musical settings of Tennyson’s “Break, Break, Break” using “Songs of the Victorians”:  an updated version of her article on these settings, originally published in the excellent collection Meter Matters, was added to “Songs of the Victorians” for the presentation, and she used it to demonstrate the need for new publishing platforms to examine the expanded Victorian verse archive.  She plans to ultimately add this article as a permanent part of “Songs of the Victorians.”

This leads me to my new update:  I have decided to begin the process of turning “Songs of the Victorians” into a 19th century sound studies journal.  If any of my readers are interested in submitting content to be considered, please contact me (jes8zv@virginia.edu).

Our panel had an enthusiastic and invigorating question and answer period in spite of the hour (the panel began at 8:30am), rounding out our session.  Overall, it was an excellent experience, and I’m grateful for all the feedback we received and for the interest in nineteenth-century musico-literary studies.

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