“‘Ah bitter love!’ she sung”: music and unobtainable erotic desires in Theophilus Marzials’s Love’s Masquerades

Journal article


Smith, H. 2023. “‘Ah bitter love!’ she sung”: music and unobtainable erotic desires in Theophilus Marzials’s Love’s Masquerades. Nineteenth-Century Contexts. https://doi.org/10.1080/08905495.2023.2161783
AuthorsSmith, H.
Abstract

This article explores the connection between music and sexuality in the poetry of the little-known British composer, singer, and poet, Theophilus “Theo” Marzials (1850-1920). In doing so I investigate his first and only collection of poetry, called The Gallery of Pigeons, published in 1873. I argue that music is deployed throughout this volume, but most especially, within Love’s Masquerades – a sonnet sequence contained amongst the collection and one within which the personified Love appears in different guises and performs various sexual and romantic roles – to articulate the most private (and often dangerous) aspects of sexuality and sexual identity in the mid- to late-nineteenth century. I discuss how music and musical discourses are ultimately employed as tools with which Marzials imagines and articulates a range of specifically unobtainable erotic desires and fantasies; their unobtainability arising from the social disruption that they threaten.

KeywordsMarzials; Music; Poetry; Sexuality; Desire; Identity
Year2023
JournalNineteenth-Century Contexts
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN0890-5495
1477-2663
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/08905495.2023.2161783
Official URLhttps://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/
Publication dates
Online08 Jan 2023
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Jan 2023
Publisher's version
License
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/9382x/-ah-bitter-love-she-sung-music-and-unobtainable-erotic-desires-in-theophilus-marzials-s-love-s-masquerades

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