Dr Paul Watt’s new book, The Regulation and Reform of Music Criticism in Nineteenth-Century England, is published today.
The book examines the ways in which music journalism was professionalised in England in the nineteenth century and the role that publishers, editors, composers, authors and readers played in this complex process of transformation and change.
‘I had great fun researching and writing this book’, said Dr Watt.
‘For years I had come across extensive commentary in the nineteenth-century British press about the need for criticism of all kinds to be reformed and regulated.
‘Archival research was vital to get the job done. I spent many months looking though various collections at the British Library, Cambridge University, Harvard University and Dartmouth College’, Dr Watt said.
Asked what he thought the most significant aspect of this project was Dr Watt said, ‘I have tried to show that music critics in England were not hacks and eccentrics, as they are sometimes portrayed to be, and that they didn’t operate in a parochial vacuum.'
‘Their interaction with intellectuals and ideas from France and Germany in particular is a significant part of this project. It will give musicologists and music critics a greater sense of the complexity and heritage of their profession.'
The Regulation and Reform of Music Criticism in Nineteenth-Century England, is released today in the ‘Royal Musical Association Monographs’ series published by Routledge.
The project was funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award.
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