On Monday, March 11, English PhD student Joanna Swafford will launch the pre-release of Songs of the Victorians, an archive of parlor and art song settings of Victorian poems, and also a scholarly tool to facilitate interdisciplinary music and poetry scholarship.
It will ultimately contain four songs: Michael William Balfe's "Come into the Garden, Maud" and Sir Arthur Somervell's "Come into the Garden, Maud" (both based on Alfred Lord Tennyson's monodrama, Maud), Sir Arthur Sullivan's setting of Adelaide Procter's "A Lost Chord," and Caroline Norton's "Juanita," although for this limited release, it only includes "Juanita."
The archival portion of this site includes high-resolution images of the first edition printings of each song integrated with an audio file so that each measure is highlighted in time with the music. The scholarly component for each work includes an article-length analysis of the song's interpretation of the poem. Whenever this analysis references a specific section of the piece, the reader can click to view the score and hear the audio for this excerpt, again with the measures highlighted in time with the music. In this way all scholars, regardless of their ability to read music, can follow both the score and the thread of the argument.
Joanna has been developing this project with the generous support of a Scholars' Lab Fellowship. To learn more about the creation of this site or to receive updates on its development schedule, please visit and subscribe to her development blog, "Anglophile in Academia".