Transnational Smyth: Suffrage, Cosmopolitanism, Networks Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Fedor, Erica
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Music, Musicology Graduate Program
  • This thesis examines the transnational entanglements of Dame Ethel Smyth (1858–1944), which are exemplified through her travel and movement, her transnational networks, and her music’s global circulation. Smyth studied music in Leipzig, Germany, as a young woman; composed an opera (The Boatswain’s Mate) while living in Egypt; and even worked as a radiologist in France during the First World War. In order to achieve performances of her work, she drew upon a carefully-cultivated transnational network of influential women—her powerful “matrons.” While I acknowledge the sexism and misogyny Smyth encountered and battled throughout her life, I also wish to broaden the scholarly conversation surrounding Smyth to touch on the ways nationalism, mobility, and cosmopolitanism contribute to, and impact, a composer’s reputations and reception. Smyth herself acknowledges the particular double-bind she faced—that of being a woman and a composer with German musical training trying to break into the English music scene. Using Ethel Smyth as a case study, this thesis draws upon the composer’s writings, reviews of Smyth’s musical works, popular-press articles, and academic sources to examine broader themes regarding the ways nationality, transnationality, and locality intersect with issues of gender and institutionalized sexism. Such intersections have the power to shape labels of insider/outsider and influence whose music gets performed, studied, and remembered.
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  • In Copyright
  • Carter, Tim
  • Garcia, David
  • Fauser, Annegret
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2018

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