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Ethel Smyth entry: Overview screen.
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Overview
Writing
Life
Writing and Life
Timeline
Excerpts
Works By
All of Ethel Smyth's writings are richly autobiographical. They provide an acute and open account of her experience as a woman entering a strictly delimited male field (in her case that of composing large-scale musical works). Her friend Vita Sackville-West somewhat waspishly suggested that Ethel Smyth "might concisely have entitled her successive books ME ONE, ME TWO, ME THREE, and so on." Bibliographic Citation link. As a passionate suffragist, Ethel Smyth wrote to show "how these wretched sex-considerations were really the fashioning factor of my life." Bibliographic Citation link. In particular, her work supports women in music, expresses her own frustrations with exclusion from English musical life, and analyses "the complex of public interest, middlemen, and other conditions that I call the Machine." Bibliographic Citation link.
Milestones
23 April 1858 ES was born at Sidcup in Kent. Bibliographic Citation link.
22 June 1909 ES's opera The Wreckers had its first full performance in English under conductor Thomas Beecham at His Majesty's Theatre, London. Bibliographic Citation link.
1940 ES published What Happened Next, which completed her autobiography. Bibliographic Citation link.
8 May 1944 ES died after many years of failing health (including battles with diabetes, rheumatism, and deafness) at her home in Woking, Surrey. The immediate cause of death was pneumonia. Bibliographic Citation link.
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