The Guitar in Georgian England A Social and Musical History Christopher Page

Publication date:
13 Oct 2020
Yale University Press
304 pages: 229 x 152mm
20 color + 30 b-w illus.
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A fascinating social history of the guitar, reasserting its long-forgotten importance in Romantic England

This book is the first to explore the popularity and novelty of the guitar in Georgian England, noting its impact on the social, cultural, and musical history of the period. The instrument possessed an imagery as rich as its uses were varied; it emerged as a potent symbol of Romanticism and was incorporated into poetry, portraiture, and drama. In addition, British and Irish soldiers returning from war in Spain and Portugal brought with them knowledge of the Spanish guitar and its connotations of stylish masculinity. Christopher Page presents entirely new scholarship in order to place the guitar within a multifaceted context, drawing from recently digitized original source material. The Guitar in Georgian England champions an instrument whose importance in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is often overlooked.

Christopher Page is emeritus professor at the University of Cambridge.

“It was puzzling that the guitar’s rich history during that period had been so largely neglected in scholarly research. Page’s new book not only fills this gap admirably...but also adds a novel dimension to the discussion of the guitar by investigating its multifaceted impact within the sociocultural and intellectual context of a revolutionary era...The Guitar in Georgian England will certainly inspire and shape future studies of the guitar.”—Panagiotis Poulopoulos, Galpin Society Journal

“Page touches on many factors that impact on the life story of a musical instrument, and presents a social and musical history that will be of interest and use to readers well beyond the sphere of musicology.”—Jenny Nex, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies