Chapter

Introduction: <i>The Course of Empire</i>

Beth E. Levy

in Frontier Figures

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780520267763
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520952027 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520267763.003.0001
Introduction: The Course of Empire

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Taking as its point of departure the geographical imagination of the nineteenth century's Columbian year, this book embarks on its own voyage of discovery, navigating waters that are sometimes familiar and sometimes uncharted. It traces American art or “classical” music as practiced by a handful of influential composers between 1900 and 1950. En route, this current commingles with and gains momentum from many others—the dime novel, the community pageant, the popular song, and the Hollywood film score, to name a few. This introductory chapter begins by focusing on 1893, to take on board some of the themes of the book's westward journey, and to ponder their relationship to the world-historical vision captured in the most famous line of Bishop George Berkeley's poem “America or the Muse's Refuge: A Prophesy”: “Westward the course of empire takes its way.”

Keywords: American West; American art; classical music; American music

Chapter.  8578 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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