Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

The Social Agenda of Stephen Foster's Plantation Melodies

The Social Agenda of Stephen Foster's Plantation Melodies STEVEN SAUNDERS The Social Agenda of Stephen Foster ’s Plantation Melodies One of Stephen Collins Foster ’s first published songs, “There’s a Good Time Coming,” offers one of the composer ’s clearest statements on nine- teenth-century culture and politics. The text—not by Foster, but by the Scottish-born poet and writer Charles Mackay—catalogues many of the chief cultural barriers of the nineteenth century, including ethnicity, re- ligion, socioeconomic status, and gender. Its text proclaims hopefully: Worth, not birth shall rule mankind. Shameful rivalries of creed shall not make the martyr bleed. And a poor man’s family shall not be his misery. Let us aid it all we can, ev’ry woman, ev’ry man. The song presents a progressive, utopian vision of a not-too-distant fu- ture, the “good time coming,” where barriers of religion, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status will come crashing down and where war and child labor will vanish. In choosing to set this text, Foster seems to have taken one of his few clear public stances on social issues. Few of Foster ’s pub- lished songs are so openly political, yet the idea of Stephen Foster as a composer with a progressive political agenda has become widespread, particularly among scholars http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Music University of Illinois Press

The Social Agenda of Stephen Foster's Plantation Melodies

American Music , Volume 30 (3) – Apr 24, 2013

Loading next page...
 
/lp/university-of-illinois-press/the-social-agenda-of-stephen-foster-apos-s-plantation-melodies-2P1j1gVayy
Publisher
University of Illinois Press
ISSN
1945-2349

Abstract

STEVEN SAUNDERS The Social Agenda of Stephen Foster ’s Plantation Melodies One of Stephen Collins Foster ’s first published songs, “There’s a Good Time Coming,” offers one of the composer ’s clearest statements on nine- teenth-century culture and politics. The text—not by Foster, but by the Scottish-born poet and writer Charles Mackay—catalogues many of the chief cultural barriers of the nineteenth century, including ethnicity, re- ligion, socioeconomic status, and gender. Its text proclaims hopefully: Worth, not birth shall rule mankind. Shameful rivalries of creed shall not make the martyr bleed. And a poor man’s family shall not be his misery. Let us aid it all we can, ev’ry woman, ev’ry man. The song presents a progressive, utopian vision of a not-too-distant fu- ture, the “good time coming,” where barriers of religion, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status will come crashing down and where war and child labor will vanish. In choosing to set this text, Foster seems to have taken one of his few clear public stances on social issues. Few of Foster ’s pub- lished songs are so openly political, yet the idea of Stephen Foster as a composer with a progressive political agenda has become widespread, particularly among scholars

Journal

American MusicUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Apr 24, 2013

There are no references for this article.