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Beyond BachMusic and Everyday Life in the Eighteenth Century$
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Andrew Talle

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040849

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252040849.001.0001

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A Dark-Haired Dame and Her Scottish Admirer

A Dark-Haired Dame and Her Scottish Admirer

(p.66) Chapter 4 A Dark-Haired Dame and Her Scottish Admirer
Beyond Bach

Andrew Talle

University of Illinois Press

Chapter four uses the travel diary of James Boswell, a Scottish aristocrat and future biographer of Samuel Johnson, as the basis for a discussion of how keyboard music figured in courtship. Women were generally expected to remain passive in courtship, as revealed by novels, poems, paintings, and self-help manuals. The keyboard offered a means of showcasing talents for suitors and also a kind of innoculation against more nefarious entertainments during the vulnerable years before marriage. Some women, however, employed music making in a multivalent manner. Boswell’s flirtations with the daughter of Berlin’s city council president, Caroline Kircheisen, offer a vivid case in point. Her late-night harpsichord performances for Boswell expressed the exact opposite of what he wanted them to mean.

Keywords:   James Boswell, Caroline Kircheisen, Berlin, Courtship, Flirtation, Husband, Wife, Marriage, Innocent Diversion, Innoculation Against Vice

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