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The Peasant’s Throat: Ouida’s Transnational Underclass on the European Operatic Stage

The Peasant’s Throat: Ouida’s Transnational Underclass on the European Operatic Stage

King, Andrew ORCID: 0000-0003-2348-4231 (2016) The Peasant’s Throat: Ouida’s Transnational Underclass on the European Operatic Stage. In: The Novel, the Periodical Press, and the Global Circulation of Texts, 1789-1945, 16-17 February 2016, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

It is hardly a new observation that the labourers who generated much of the wealth of the nineteenth-century European elite also provided a great deal of entertainment as representations in fiction and on the stage. Known mainly today for her risqué novels featuring European aristrocrats (Under Two Flags and Moths are currently her best known in Western academe), Ouida (1839-1908) was perhaps even better known during her lifetime for her novels and short stories of peasant life. Like most of her work, they circulated in many parts of the world either in English or in translation. One short novel in particular, Two Little Wooden Shoes (1874) inspired no fewer than three operatic adaptations in French, Italian and Hungarian (the latter with German alternative), while two other novels were also turned into operas by a British composer (with an originally Italian libretto later adapted into English) and a Belgian (in French). There has been some work on the numerous plays based on Ouida’s fiction, but these operas, all of which deal with peasant life, have remained largely neglected.

Using musical illustrations, this paper will explore the very varied approaches to the problems Ouida’s peasant fiction posed for the transnational and national operatic stage, problems which show the limits of what was representable on the stage compared to page in various parts of Europe.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Keynote)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ouida, Opera, Adaptation, Global circulation of fiction, Victorian popular fiction
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities > Department of Literature, Language & Theatre
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2016 10:26
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/14633

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