The National and the Universal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines the continuities between the categories of the “national” and the "universal” in the nineteenth century. It construes these categories as interrelated efforts to create a “world” on various scales. The chapter explores the perceived role of music as a world-making medium within these discourses. It argues that the increased exposure to cultural difference and the interpretation of that cultural difference as distant in time and space shaped a conception of “humanity” in terms of a universal history of world cultures. The chapter reexamines those early nineteenth-century thinkers whose work became inextricably linked with the rise of exclusivist notions of nationalism in the late nineteenth century, such as Johann Gottfried Herder and John Stuart Mill. It draws from their respective treatment of music to recover their early commitment to universalizable principles and their view that the “world” is something that must be actively created rather than empirically observed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Music and Intellectual Culture in the Nineteenth Century
EditorsPaul Watt, Sarah Collins, Michael Allis
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780190616922
ISBN (Print)9780190616922
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


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