The following is a working bibliography of scholarship on the life and music of Dame Ethel Smyth, including Smyth’s memoirs and published essays. Sources are listed alphabetically. Any errors or omissions are my own. I am currently updating this page – if you know of a source that should be listed here, please contact us!
— Amy Zigler, PhD
Anderson, Gwen. Ethel Smyth: The Burning Rose: A Brief Biography (London: Cecil Woolf Publishers, 1997).
Bartsch, Cornelia. “’(Anti)Primitivismus’? Ethel Smyth’s ‘Grosse Fuge’ (1913),” MusikTheorie 29/4 (2014) 317–32.
Bernstein, Jane A. “’Shout, Shout, Up with Your Song!’ Dame Ethel Smyth and the Changing Role of the British Woman Composer,” Women Making Music: The Western Art Tradition, 1150-1900, ed. by Jane Bowers and Judith Tick (Urbana: University of Illinois Press,1985) 304-322.
Broad, Leah. Quartet: How Four Women Changed the Musical World (Faber & Faber, 2023.)
Citron, Marcia J. “Dr. Marcia J. Citron on The Wreckers at Houston Grand Opera,” Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy, https://wophil.org/marcia-j-citron-wreckers-houston/?doing_wp_cron=1672092456.1806221008300781250000
Clements, Elicia. “Virginia Woolf, Ethel Smyth, and Music: Listening as a Productive Mode of Social Interaction,” College Literature 32/3 (Summer 2005) 51-71.
Collis, Louise. Impetuous Heart: The Story of Ethel Smyth (London: William Kimber & Co. Limited, 1984).
Dale, Kathleen. “Dame Ethel Smyth,” Music & Letters 25/4 (1944) 191-194.
_____. “Ethel Smyth’s Prentice Works,” Music & Letters 30/4 (1949) 329-336.
D’Silva, Beverley. “Ethel Smyth: An Extraordinary ‘Lost’ Opera Composer,” BBC Culture Online https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20220720-ethel-smyththe-rebel-composer-erased-from-history
Franca, John. “An Ethel Smyth discovery,” The Strad 91/1090 (1981) 718-19.
Fuller, Sophie. “Smyth, Dame Ethel (Mary),” The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians 23 (2001) 591-594.
_____. Women Composers During the British Musical Renaissance, 1880-1918 (Ph. D. diss., King’s College, University of London, 1998).
Fuller-Maitland, J.A. “Smyth, (Dame) Ethel (Mary),” The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians 7 (1954) 860-863.
Gates, Eugene. “Damned If You Do and Damned If You Don’t: Sexual Aesthetics and the Music of Dame Ethel Smyth,” Journal of Aesthetic Education 31/1 (University of Illinois, Spring 1997).
_____. The Woman Composer question: Four Case Studies from the Romantic Era (Ed. D. diss., University of Toronto, 1992).
Gillett, Paula. Musical Women in England, 1870-1914: “Encroaching on All Man’s Privileges” (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000).
Gisbrecht, Nancy. An Examination of the Operatic Environment in Which Ethel Smyth Composed and Its Effect On Her Career (M.A. Thesis, University of South Carolina, 1980).
Hardy, Lisa. The British Piano Sonata, 1870-1945 (Woodbridge, Suffolk; Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 2001).
Halstead, Jill. The Woman Composer: Creativity and the Gendered Politics of Musical Compositions (Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 1997).
Hoffmann, Marleen. “’It Seemed to Me My First Duty to Signify I Was One of the Fighters’: Ethel Smyth’s Two Years of Suffrage Activities and Her Suffrage Music,” Women’s Suffrage in Word, Image, Music, Stage and Screen: The Making of a Movement, ed. by Christopher Wiley and Lucy Ella Rose (Routledge, 2021).
Hughes, Jennifer Gwynn. Sapphonic Listening: Ethel Smyth’s String Quartet in E minor (M.A. thesis, University of Virginia, 1995).
Hull, Robin. “Dame Ethel Smyth,” Tempo 7 (1944) 12.
Hurd Michael, “Smyth, Dame Ethel (Mary),” The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians 17 (1980) 425-26.
Hyde, Derek. New-found Voices: Women in Nineteenth-century English Music (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Company, 1998).
Jezic, Diane Peacock. Women Composers: The Lost Tradition Found, foreword by Elizabeth Wood (New York: The Feminist Press, 1988).
Johannes Brahms: The Herzogenberg Correspondence, ed. by Max Kalbeck and trans. by Hannah Bryant (New York: E. P. Dutton & Company, 1909).
Johnson, Carl. “Ethel Smyth: The Only Woman Composer Ever to be Heard at the Met,” American Music Teacher 31 (1981) 14-17.
Keays, Mary Lee. Tooting Her Own Horn: Dame Ethel Smyth’s Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano (D.M.A. diss., University of California – Los Angeles, 2001).
Marcus, Jane. “Storming the Toolshed,” Feminist Theory 7/3 (Spring 1982) 622-640.
Mercier, Anita and Susan Pickett. “Ethel Smyth: String Quartet in E minor (1912),” Women Composers: Music Through the Ages, Vol. 8: Large and Small Ensembles, ed. by Sylvia Glickman and Martha F. Schleifer (Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2006) 303-307.
Millington, Hannah. “’1910’: Ethel Smyth’s Unsung Suffrage Song,” The Musicology Review 10 (November 2021) 55-76.
Neules-Bates, Carol, ed. Women in Music: An Anthology of Source Readings From the Middle Ages to the Present (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1982).
Robinson, Suzanne. “Smyth the Anarchist: Fin-de-siècle Radicalism in The Wreckers,” Cambridge Opera Journal 20/2 (July 2008) 149-179.
St. John, Christopher. Ethel Smyth: A Biography (London: Longmans, 1959). With appendices by Edward Sackville-West, Vita Sackville-West, and Kathleen Dale.
Seddon, Laura. British Women Composers and Instrumental Chamber Music in the Early Twentieth Century (London: Ashgate, 2013).
Smyth, Ethel. Beecham and Pharaoh (London: Chapman and Hall, Ltd., 1935.)
_____. Female Pipings in Eden (London: P. Davies Ltd., 1934).
_____. A Final Burning of Boats (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1928).
_____. As Time Went On … (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1936).
_____. Impressions That Remained, vols. I and II (London: Longmans, Green and Co., Ltd., 1919. Reprint New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1946).
_____. Inordinate (?) Affection: A Story for Dog Lovers (Cresset Press, 1936).
_____. Maurice Baring (London, William Heinemann Ltd, 1938).
_____. The Memoirs of Ethel Smyth. Abridged and introduced by Ronald Crichton, with a chronological listing of works compiled by Jory Bennett. (New York: Viking Press, 1987).
_____. Streaks of Life (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1921).
_____. A Three-Legged Tour in Greece (London: William Heinemann Ltd, 1927).
_____. What Happened Next. (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1940).
Solie, Ruth A., ed. Musicology and Difference: Gender and Sexuality in Music Scholarship (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).
Tovey, Donald Francis. Essays in Musical Analysis: Vol. V, Vocal Music (London: Oxford University Press, 1937).
Wiley, Christopher. “Ethel Smyth, Music and the Suffragette Movement: Reconsidering The Boatswain’s Mate as Feminist Opera,” Women’s Suffrage in Word, Image, Music, Stage and Screen: The Making of a Movement, ed. by Christopher Wiley and Lucy Ella Rose (Routledge, 2021).
_____. “Ethel Smyth, Suffrage, and Surrey: From Frimley Green to Hook Heath, Woking,” Women’s History: The Journal of the Women’s History Network, Special Issue: 1918-2018 2/11 (2018) 11-18.
_____. “A Fresh Start and Two (More) Portraits: Theatrical Shows on the Life and Work of Ethel Smyth for 2018,” Women’s History: The Journal of the Women’s History Network, Special Issue: 1918-2018 2/11 (2018) 39-40.
_____. “Music and Literature: Ethel Smyth, Virginia Woolf, and ‘the First Woman to Write an Opera,’” The Musical Quarterly 96 (2013) 263-95.
_____. “The Statue of Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) in Dukes Plaza, Woking,” Women’s History Review (2022) 1-11.
_____. “’When a Woman Speaks the Truth About Her Body’: Ethel Smyth, Virginia Woolf, and the Challenges of Lesbian Auto/Biography,” Music & Letters 85 (2004) 388-414.
Wood, Elizabeth. “Gender and Genre in Ethel Smyth’s Operas,” The Musical Woman, Vol. 3, ed. by Zaimont, Overhauser, and Gottlieb (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1991).
______. “Lesbian Fugue: Ethel Smyth’s Contrapuntal Arts,” Musicology and Difference: Gender and Sexuality in Music Scholarship, ed. by Ruth A. Solie (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1993).
______. “On Deafness and Musical Creativity: The Case of Ethel Smyth,” The Musical Quarterly, 92 (2009) 33-69.
______. “Performing Rights: A Sonography of Women’s Suffrage,” The Musical Quarterly, 79/4 (1995) 606-643.
______. “Sapphonics,” Queering the Pitch: The New Gay and Lesbian Musicology, ed. by Philip Brett, Elizabeth Wood, and Gary Thomas (New York: Routledge Press, 1994).
_____. The Story of Two English Rebels, Vernon Lee and Ethel Smyth. Uploaded to YouTube by NYU Florence, March 12, 2018. https://youtu.be/xv6-AmItedc
_____. “Women, Music, and Ethel Smyth: A Pathway in the Politics of Music,” The Massachusetts Review 24/ 1 (1983) 125-139.
Zigler, Amy. “Four Romantic Chamber Works by Ethel Smyth (1858-1944),” Journal of the International Alliance for Women in Music 14/1 (2008), ed. by Eve Meyer (Wynnewood, PA.: The Alliance, 1995-).
_____. Review of Ethel Smyth’s Serenade in D major for Orchestra, edited by John L. Snyder (A-R Editions, 2021), Nineteenth-Century Music Review (published online 6 September 2022). https://www.doi.org/10.1017/S1479409822000325.
_____. Selected Chamber Works of Dame Ethel Smyth (PhD diss., University of Florida, 2009).
_____. “’What a Splendid Chance Missed!’: Dame Ethel Smyth’s Der Wald at the Met,” The Opera Journal 54/2 (December 2021) 109-163.
_____. “The Wreckers Storms Houston!” Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy, https://wophil.org/the-wreckers-storms-houston/
_____. “‘You and I Will Be Like the Monk Dante Meets in Hell’: Literary References and Autobiography in Ethel Smyth’s Sonata in A Minor for Violin and Piano, Op. 7 (1887),” Nineteenth-Century Programme Music: Creation, Negotiations, Reception, ed. by Jonathan Kregor, Turnhout, Brepols, 2018 (Speculum Musicae, 32)