Review: Katherine R. Larson’s The Matter of Song in Early England

My review of Katherine R. Larson’s The Matter of Song in Early England, for Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal, is now available via Humanities Commons CORE. A sneak peek:

Katherine R. Larson’s The Matter of Song in Early England is an exceptional study. It offers the perspective not just of an academic—Larson is professor of English at the University of Toronto—but also that of a performer, as Larson is an ac-complished singer. In this monograph, she brings together work she has done in editing two essay collections, one on Mary Wroth and one on song and gender in early modern England, a host of journal publications, and new research and analysis. The Matter of Song in Early England is accompanied by a companion site featuring fourteen pieces recorded by Larson and lutenist Lucas Harris. As Larson writes in the prologue of the book, this experiential aspect of her project—what Carolyn Abbate calls the “drastic,” as opposed to the more objective “gnostic” response to music (9)—made the endeavor more personal and more embodied, especially as it is this embodiment that she is most often concerned with in detailing women’s experiences with song in the English early modern period.

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