Current research

Tentatively called Music and the Liberal Vision, my present monograph describes how music’s appeal within elite venues, slum settlement projects, Pan-African networks, and the British Commonwealth was considered a means of enacting a hopeful process of self-realization and cross-class national progress. This relational, liberal narrative inspired aesthetic content and innovative form within poems, realist fiction, fairy tales, painting, and music in nineteenth-century Britain.

Also engaged in the field of digital humanities, I am co-directing the Sounding Victorian suite of projects with Sophie Fuller, leading the  Sounding Tennyson project, and collaborating with Ewan Jones on the Tennyson collection hosted by the Cambridge Digital Library. Together, the Tennyson projects make up the consortium, Tennysons Archive: Digitising the Work of the Tennysons, Plural. The aspects of this digital work that are focused on presenting sound are internationally innovative, thanks to our collaboration with the Walter J. Ong, S.J., Center for Digital Humanities at Saint Louis UniversitySounding Tennyson is the first project worldwide to use sound with IIIF and has provided the origin for multiple fixtures in the A/V group. 

Detail of Tennyson doodle, age 9, flyleaf of his copy of Virgil. Used as Sounding Tennyson logo. Reproduced by permission of the Lincolnshire County Council, UK.

Phyllis Weliver discusses unusual aspects of Tennyson's manuscript of In Memoriam A.H.H. at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Liberal prime minister W.E. Gladstone shown playing the bones in the Irish manner. Detail of "Harmony: or, The Prince of Wales's Royal Minstrels," Punch LXXXII (11 March 1882): 110. Image courtesy of Pius XII Memorial Library, Saint Louis University.

Queen Victoria's piano, rented to make the recordings for Sounding Tennyson in the Tennysons' restored home on the Isle of Wight. Keyboard with music rack and front board removed to expose the internal action. 1858 Broadwood square, Finchcocks Musical Museum. Photo by Phyllis Weliver, Dec. 2015.