Sherwood, Frances Clare (1989) John Gay's the beggar's opera: early eighteenth-century responses in the arts to cultural, sociological and political issues in London life. Masters thesis, Durham University.
Differing responses in art media to these contemporary issues of London life are explored, taking John Gay's the Beggar's Opera as the focal point for discussion. Initially, a general survey is made of Gay's role as cultural, social and moral critic. Comparison with George Frederick Handel's Floridante allows Gay's work to be placed in the context of operatic responses to contemporary society, highlighting usage both of overt portrayal and indirect satire. Gay's approach to political issues is examined alongside that of Dean Swift's Gulliver's Travels enabling an estimation to be made of the effectiveness of these art media as tools of political propaganda. Similarly, responses in the field of painting are discussed in the light of representative works of James Thornhill and William Hogarth's A Harlot's Progress and A Rake's Progress. In considering all these responses it is noted that art can be interpreted at differing levels, from the sophisticated to the naive. All these art media are then placed in the context of artistic philosophy of the period, thus facilitating an objective assessment of the parallels and differences of art's responses to contemporary issues. Taking into account inherent limitations in the media, to conclude our study, Hogarth's The Beggar's Opera Scenes are compared and contrasted with Gay's prototype. The thesis highlights the trend towards realism in the arts during this period. Nevertheless, we are left with the conundrum that art, 'per se', can only 'mirror' life. It does not necessarily solve its problems. Thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Music. University of Durham Department of Music 1989
|Item Type:||Thesis (Masters)|
|Award:||Master of Arts|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||08 Feb 2013 13:40|