Talk:Benjamin Britten

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Featured article Benjamin Britten is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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July 14, 2013 Peer review Reviewed
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Current status: Featured article

Britten's presumed 'attraction to boys'[edit]

This subject has been discussed before. The discussion has now been archived. Yet I feel that the discussion did not lead up to a proper conclusion, and that so far, proper conclusions have not been applied to the lemma.

The 'Boys' section of the 'Controversies' now starts with the blunt sentence 'Britten was attracted to young boys – what Auden called "thin-as-a-board juveniles – sexless and innocent", with a reference to Matthews, page 95. First off, this reference is dead wrong. On page 95 of Matthews, there is no such text. Second, even if we find that reference somewhere in Matthews, it does not warrant the first, factual statement that 'Britten was attracted to young boys'. Thirdly, we don't want the lemma to be vague on this subject, while 'being attracted to' is vague. As a secondary teacher, I am 'attracted to' working with pupils aged 12-18. Actually, I love it. But I am not in the least *sexually* attracted. I would sue anyone who insults me by publicly stating that I am 'attracted to young girls aged 12-18' because they would misappropriate the in itself vague meaning of 'to be attracted to' certain people. Vagueness and innuendo is not what we need in a dictionary.

Sure, I am open to any convincing proof that Britten actually was *sexually* attracted to young boys. It has been often suggested, or implied, or stated. Britten has been posthumously accused, or excused. But never have I found any proof of the presumed matter. Yes, we are quite sure that he was *socially* attracted to working with young people, including young boys, and often received praise for the way in which he worked with them. From his work, we can deduce that Britten was 'attracted to' the subject of youth, of innocence lost, of boys and their relationship to adults and adulthood. And yes, eroticism and its problems also somehow pervade part of Britten's output. But I see no factual ground to arrive at the factual conclusion that Britten himself was *sexually attracted to young boys'. Thus I would like the lemma to be changed so that this suggestion is removed.Mcouzijn (talk) 08:24, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Mcouzijn: which edition of the Matthews book are you referring to? I don't have either, but I see in Google books the earlier 2003 edition has at least two appearances of the Auden quote. Alfietucker (talk) 18:17, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
I've had another look at Bridcut's Britten's Children, and have amplified/clarified this section accordingly. Hope it makes sense now. Alfietucker (talk) 16:41, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
Many thanks to Alfie for that. It doesn't disrupt the general thrust, is impeccably sourced, reads smoothly and seems to me utterly NPOV. A tightrope skilfully walked. Tim riley talk 16:58, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
Thank you - glad it worked. Alfietucker (talk) 18:03, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

I am concerned about this statement: "Some commentators have continued to question Britten's conduct, sometimes very sharply". While that assertion may be true (I have no idea), I don't think is supported by the referenced article, which is Martin Kettle's article "Why we must talk about Britten's boys" at . The Kettle article (despite its subhead) is about why the topic of pedophilia should not ever be swept under the rug, and also states that "The last thing [Britten's] music needs is to be subverted by a pointless denial of his complex sexuality."

But it does not sharply question Britten's conduct. It reports that some other people have done so, and that there is no evidence of any bad conduct: "no evidence has come to light that Britten assaulted any boys, [...] the ground has been very extensively gone over, [...] many of the boys to whom Britten was close – and some of the parents who knew something of the composer's ways – remained friendly and respectful to Britten. [However, t]hat is not a watertight defence." The writer concludes that "[S]exual attraction and guilt mattered [in his music and his life.] They were some of the most important aspects of this great composer's creative life. It's very uncomfortable stuff, even today. But it can't be denied or ignored." This seems far from "sharply questioning his conduct" -- it seems more like "accepting the complexity of his feelings". Can anybody rewrite the line, or (if others continue to sharply question his conduct) add other references at least?David Couch (talk) 05:36, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

I gave it a try myself. Added "citation needed" to statement that "Some commentators have continued to question Britten's conduct, sometimes very sharply". Also added a sentence summarizing the POV of the referenced article by Mr. Kettle's. BUT -- I am not sure his opinion is important enough to include in the article. Is he an important cultural commentator? I've never heard of the fellow before reading the referenced Wikipedia article (I do happen to think he makes some excellent points, but that's neither here nor there).David Couch (talk) 05:57, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
Dealt with. Tim riley talk 07:31, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

Rheumatic fever?[edit]

If Heart & Stroke Canada doesn't say anything about Britten possibly having rheumatic fever, and if there are no other sources, why should this be in the article? —C.Fred (talk) 04:47, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

I removed it again. The entire section was original research anyways. --Majora (talk) 05:04, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

Hidden comments[edit]

The problem with hidden comments along the lines of "Don't add an infobox because a WikiProject doesn't like them" is that it has a chilling effect on editors who don't understand that Wikiprojects have no standing to demand that an infobox may not be added. The decision on having an infobox or not is a matter for consensus on each article, and that is policy. If there has already been a discussion on a particular article, and a consensus reached not to have an infobox, then it is helpful to have an html comment drawing the editor's attention to that (possibly archived) discussion, and I'd be very much in favour of maintaining such notes. It is not acceptable to have a note which effectively prevents any consensus from being discussed, as if the matter were already settled by fiat of a single editor or Wikiproject. We build this encyclopedia by allowing people to edit, not forbidding it for no good reason. --RexxS (talk) 19:28, 30 July 2016 (UTC)

First we were told that failure to have a hidden comment made it hard for editors to know not to add an infobox. Now you say that the hidden comment has a "chilling effect." The fact is that you just want to have a pile of code at the top of every article containing redundant infobox information, even in these arts biographies, usually riddled with errors and always emphasizing unimportant factoids at the expense key information. -- Ssilvers (talk) 19:51, 30 July 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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