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Dr Christopher Wiley serves as historical adviser and scriptwriter for community play on Ethel Smyth

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Ethel Smyth - A Furious LongingDr Christopher Wiley has acted as historical adviser as well as one of the team of scriptwriters for the community play Ethel Smyth: A Furious Longing – The Story of Woking’s Composer.

Several years in the planning, the play was performed by Woking Community Play Association from Thursday 4–Saturday 6 October 2018 at the H.G. Wells Centre, Woking.

Dr Wiley was one of five scriptwriters who collaborated on the 90-minute play, as well as advising on its historical and musical elements.

Dr Wiley’s contributions to the script drew directly on his research on Ethel Smyth, including her involvement with the suffragette movement, her operas The Wreckers and The Boatswain’s Mate, and her relationship with the writer Virginia Woolf.

Dr Christopher Wiley gives talk on Dame Ethel Smyth for Guildford Hard of Hearing Support Group

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Ethel SmythDr Christopher Wiley presented a talk entitled ‘The Composer Dame Ethel Smyth and her Deafness’ at the Millmead Centre, Guildford on 26 January 2015, for Guildford Hard of Hearing Support Group.

Smyth, who was active as composer, writer, and suffragette, was afflicted by distorted hearing and deafness for the last several decades of her life, particularly from the later 1910s until her death in 1944.

An acknowledged expert on Smyth, Dr Wiley has previously given public talks on the artist at the University of Surrey and The Women’s Library, London, as well as writing for the OUP Blog and organizing a recital of Smyth’s music to commemorate the 70th anniversary of her death last year.

Dr Christopher Wiley presents research seminar at the University of Surrey

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Ethel Smyth and Virginia Woolf (R-L)Dr Christopher Wiley presented a research seminar based on his paper ‘Music and Literature: Ethel Smyth, Virginia Woolf, and “The First Woman to Write an Opera”’ at a research seminar hosted by the School of Arts at the University of Surrey on 20 November 2013.

Dr Wiley joined the University of Surrey in September 2013 following a nine-year tenure at City University London. One aspect of his research concerns the intellectual dialogue between Ethel Smyth and Virginia Woolf (pictured, R-L). The article on which his paper is based is being published in the refereed journal The Musical Quarterly.

Dr Christopher Wiley publishes major article in The Musical Quarterly

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The Musical Quarterly Volume 96 Issue 2A major article by Dr Christopher Wiley, ‘Music and Literature: Ethel Smyth, Virginia Woolf, and “The First Woman to Write an Opera”’ (doi: 10.1093/musqtl/gdt012), has been published in The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 96.

Dr Wiley’s article calls into question the impression of the extent of women’s contributions to music composition given by Smyth’s published literature. He examines the traces of revisionism evident between her earlier and later prose writings, asking whether Smyth may have sought to present herself as essentially unique given her status as a female composer. Dr Wiley also explores the differences between music and literature as professions to which creative women aspired in the early twentieth century, with reference to Smyth’s Female Pipings in Eden and Woolf’s Three Guineas.

Founded in 1915 and published by Oxford University Press, The Musical Quarterly has long been cited as the foremost scholarly musical journal in the United States.

Bibliographic citation

Wiley, Christopher. ‘Ethel Smyth, Virginia Woolf, and “The First Woman to Write an Opera”’, The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 96, No. 2 (Summer 2013), pp. 263–95.

Full text

The full text is available for free download under licence from Surrey Research Insight Open Access: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/800523/

Update: Dr Wiley’s article reached no.1 in The Musical Quarterly’s monthly ranking of most-read articles (based on full-text and PDF views) throughout the final quarter of 2014, and continued to hold the top spot at the start of 2015. http://mq.oxfordjournals.org/reports/most-read