Scholarship and the Musical: Reclaiming Jerome Kern

Stephen Banfield

in Proceedings of the British Academy Volume 125, 2003 Lectures

Published by British Academy

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780197263242
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734014 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Scholarship and the Musical: Reclaiming Jerome Kern

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  • Social and Cultural History


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This lecture discusses Jerome Kern, who provides a convenient and important case study for the reclamation of the musical as historical output. It explores how the cross-disciplinary, unruly, and sometimes ephemeral, materials of popular musical theatre can best be first located and safeguarded. These materials are then reconstituted for the detached assessment they now demand, away from the pressures and traditions of showbusiness and popular canons. The lecture touches on four areas: the changing expectations of genre, the workings of nationalism, the nature and scope of the source materials, and the interplay of creative ambition and commercial expediency.

Keywords: Jerome Kern; musical; popular musical theatre; showbusiness; popular canons; changing expectations; workings of nationalism; nature and scope; creative ambition; commercial expediency

Chapter.  42 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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