Matthew Riley

Edward Elgar and the Nostalgic Imagination

Reading sample

Boek (softcover)

Item no.771169
Author/ComposerMatthew Riley
Scope256 pages; 15.2 × 22.9 cm
Release year2009
Publisher/ProducerCambridge University Press
Producer No.9780521121835
43.20 €
Delivery time approx. 1–2 weeks.
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During his lifetime, and in the course of the twentieth century, Edward Elgar and his music became sites for a remarkable variety of nostalgic impulses. These are manifested in his personal life, in the content of his works, in his critical and biographical reception, and in numerous artistic ventures based on his character and music. Today Elgar enjoys renewed popularity in Britain, and nostalgia of various forms continues to shape our responses to his music. From one viewpoint, Elgarian nostalgia might be dismissed as escapist, regressive and reactionary, and the revival in Elgar's fortunes regarded as the symptom of a pernicious 'heritage industry' in post-colonial, post-industrial Britain. While there is undeniably a grain of truth to that view, Matthew Riley's careful treatment of the topic reveals a more complex picture of nostalgia, and sheds light on Elgar and his cultural significance in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

  • High level of interest in Edward Elgar, one of the most popular British classical composers, and will therefore have a wide appeal
  • Addresses directly the meaning and significance of Elgar's music in today's society
  • Written in a lively prose style, the book includes illustrations and over forty music examples to aid the reader


  • 1 Nostalgia
  • 2 Memory: thematic reminiscence in Elgar
  • Hauntings
  • Epiphanies
  • Autumnal harmonies
  • 3 Nobility: the ideal in the present
  • Negative nobility
  • Faith and ruin
  • 4 Nature: the rural Pan
  • The wind among the pines
  • Aeolian visitations
  • Nature and form
  • 5 Childhood: the Romantic child
  • Moore's 'Better Land'
  • Starlight and recollection
  • The Elgarian child transformed
  • 6 Identity: the feminine element inside
  • Imperialist nostalgia
  • A demon for counterpoint
  • 7 Waters: A flowing-awayness
  • Penal waters
  • Severn and Amazon
  • Bibliography