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Taste, Gender, and Nation in the Material Culture of Domestic Musical Performance: The Pocket Opera Anthology in England, 1724-6

  • Author(s): Rodgers, Mark
  • et al.
Abstract

Mark Rogers’s Honor’s Thesis, “Taste, Gender and Nation in the Material Culture of Musical Performance, the Pocket Opera Anthology in England 1724-6,” explores this “small but circumscribed genre of pocket books for gentlemen and ladies… primarily offering songs and arias from Italian operas” for performance by amateurs in domestic situations as apposed to the operatic stage. Despite admittedly sparse documentation on such private performances, Mark’s research was exhaustive, leading him to several libraries, including the Business Library to track down information about Italian businessmen in early 18th century London, and the Environmental Design Library to seek information on 18th century dress “(since the books were designed for pockets)”. Mark also used digital sources from Early English Books Online and Eighteenth-Century Collections Online, as well as availing himself of the rich resources in original 18th century editions in the Hargrove Music Library. Mark’s advisor, Prof. Davitt Moroney, calls his writing “mature and elegant, with intellectual subtlety and wit. He makes full use of all the resource available to him…like a professional scholar…. I am delighted by his vast and playful exploration of the non-musical dimensions of these pocket books, including questions of fashion, dress, iconography…and the all-pervasive issues of class and commerce with studies of print culture.” Prof. Moroney adds that “if the Prize is partly designed to identify young researchers who use library resources, and to encourage them as they go forward in their careers, working with library materials, then here is a truly exceptional candidate.”

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