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In The Company Of Cars
It has long been accepted that the social and cultural meanings of the car far exceed the practical need for mobility. This book marks the first attempt to contribute to road safety, considering, in depth, these meanings and the cultures of driving that are shaped by them. In the Company of Cars examines the perspectives that young people have on cars, and explores the broader social and cultural meanings of the car, the potential it is supposed to fulfil, and the anticipated benefits it offers to young drivers. From focus-group research conducted in Australia, the book takes up the views of young people on a range of topics, from media to car use to gender performance. The author looks at the ways in which driving has been defined by articulations of the car that emphasize valued features of the car-driver, such as gender, youthfulness, status, age, power, raciness, sexiness, ruggedness and competitiveness. The book takes a global perspective on mobility, considering the impact of cars and road safety policy on quality of life, and the value and significance of other modes of travel, in a range of countries.
Operatic Performances In England Before Handel
From the beginning of the first chapter.
This study deals chiefly with the early opera in its connection with English letters. Music has been considered only as it serves to give a more distinct and comprehensive view of the principal theme. This limitation is necessary because with a few exceptions the scores of operas composed before the time of Handel have been lost. The nature of the music therefore can only be surmised from incidental references to it, scattered throughout diaries, letters and other contemporary records.
The seventeenth century idea of opera differed materially from our own. The essentials of opera in Italy and France varied in important details from those of English opera so that a definition must be formulated covering the English conditions. An opera, it would seem, was a drama, either tragic or comic, which called to its aid in its presentation the sister art of music in the form of set songs, choruses and recitatives. Its subject was commonly romantic, and it employed like other romantic drama, the effectiveness of elaborate scenery, stage effects and costuming, setting more store on these accessories than did other plays. It differed from the masque in the subsidiary place which it gave to dancing and in the greater coherence of its plot. Though it suffered in its history certain changes in detail, its essential features lay in the fact that it was a musical drama.
Davenant was the first writer of English opera. But to him an opera was any dramatic performance with song, recitative, instrumental music and scenic accompaniment. Joseph Knight accounts thus for Davenant's usage of the term: "His reason for using the word seems to have been almost entirely commercial, without much consideration for fitness. It was necessary to hoodwink the Puritan police authorities in order to give the production, 'Long after he had dismissed the music and produced regular tragedies, he adhered to the word opera, the use of which had enabled him to steer his bark in "ticklish" times.'" Knight seems a trifle too general in his assertions, for there were certainly operatic elements in the Siege of Rhodes, in Sir Francis Drake and in The Spaniards in Peru. Time and again moreover Davenant is referred to by Dryden, Langbaine, Dennis and others as the one who first introduced opera. As to his "adherence to the word long after he had dismissed the music," there is no record that a new English opera was played during Davenant's lifetime, after the earliest years of the Restoration period. His own operatic version of Macbeth was not presented until 1672, several years after his death. There would seem then to be no reason for his continuance of the use of the word. Instead of dismissing musical accompaniments, it is far more probable in conformity to the trend of the Restoration stage, that he favored the introduction of music into his dramas in increasing proportion. Even conceding that Davenant's purpose in his earlier performances was largely mercenary, his remodeled Siege of Rhodes may be held to have been influenced also by other considerations. It has evidences of a conscious striving for artistic expression and complexity of plot, and it certainly set an example for later operas....
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