Ernest Newman

Ernest Newman

A Critical Biography

Paul Watt


Boydell Press



Examines the genesis of Ernest Newman's major publications in the context of prevailing intellectual trends in history, criticism and biography
Ernest Newman (1868-1959) left an indelible mark on British musical criticism in a career spanning more than seventy years. His magisterial Life of Richard Wagner, published in four volumes between 1933 and 1946, is regarded as his crowning achievement, but Newman wrote many other influential books and essays on a variety of subjects ranging from early music to Schoenberg. In this book, the geneses of Newman's major publications are examined in the context of prevailing intellectual trends in history, criticism and biography. Newman's career as a writer is traced across a wide range of subjects including English and French literature, evolutionary theory and biographical method, and French, German and Russian music. Underpinning many of these works is Newman's preoccupation with rationalism and historical method. By examining particular sets of writings such as composer-biographies and essays from leading newspapers such as the Manchester Guardian and the Sunday Times, this book illustrates the ways in which Newman's work was grounded in late nineteenth-century intellectual paradigms that made him a unique and at times controversial figure.

PAUL WATT is Senior Lecturer in Musicology in the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University.


June 2017
12 black and white illustrations
264 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Music in Britain, 1600-2000
ISBN: 9781783271900
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
BISAC MUS006000, MUS020000
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Table of Contents

Ernest Newman and the Challenge of Critical Biography
Formation of a Critical Sensibility: The 1880s and 1890s
Social, Literary and Musical Criticism: 1893-1897
A Rationalist Manifesto: Pseudo-Philosophy at the end of the Nineteenth Century, 1897
Music History and the Comparative Method: Gluck and the Opera, 1895
From Manchester to Moscow: Essays on Music, 1900-1920
'The World of Music': Essays in The Sunday Times, 1920-1958
Biographical and Musicological Tensions: The Man Liszt, 1934
Sceptical and Transforming: Books on Wagner, 1899-1959
Conclusion: Ernest Newman Remembered
Appendix: Newman's Freethought Lectures, 1894-1896

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