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  • The Timely Traditions of Albert Herring

    Christopher Chowrimootoo

    Chapter from the book: Chowrimootoo, C. 2018. Middlebrow Modernism: Britten’s Operas and the Great Divide.


    This chapter explores how Albert Herring (1947) simultaneously undermines and embraces tradition. Critical selection and subtraction will come in for some analysis, along with journalistic appeals to modernist irony, in an effort to unsettle longstanding assumptions about musical modernism’s relationship with the past. Drawing on middlebrow criticism from Priestley to Lambert, chapter three argues that modernist oppositions are most profitably understood in dialectical terms, according to which old and new, tradition and innovation, depend on one another for definition. It was precisely when Herring was at its most flagrantly conventional that critics most discerned its originality.

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    Chowrimootoo, C. 2018. The Timely Traditions of Albert Herring. In: Chowrimootoo, C, Middlebrow Modernism. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.57.c

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on Oct. 8, 2018