Temptation Rag Tells the Story of Ragtime in New York

Magic of Historical past is the present cease on the weblog tour for Temptation Rag, by Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard.
It’s a exceptional flip of the twentieth century story concerning the value of freedom, the eager for immortality, and the human have to
discover forgiveness.This richly fictionalized historic saga spans 30 years and options an unforgettable forged.

Bernard was variety sufficient to reply a number of questions concerning the e book:

Why did you write Temptation Rag?

This can be a story I felt was vital to inform,” says Bernard. “I used to be drawn to it, at first, as a result of my husband’s grandfather, Mike Bernard, was such a outstanding a part of the ragtime period in New York. However when my analysis led me to find the numerous controversies
surrounding ragtime music, significantly concerning a number of the injustices suffered by African-American musicians throughout that point, I noticed there was a a lot greater story right here. My aim as a author was to craft a novel with historic coloration and emotional affect, and, in
the course of a compelling and fast-moving story, to lift some important however perplexing questions on human nature.”

What’s the largest lesson we will study out of your examination of Ragtime New York?

One of many issues that my story illuminates is the large energy of music, each on the person and society. As one in every of my characters says, “. . . music has at all times been a mirrored image of the society through which it exists. However greater than reflecting society, music additionally influences it.” Because the Victorian period drew to an in depth, ragtime music each mirrored and inspired a larger permissiveness in society, in addition to a crossing of racial and sophistication boundaries. The infectious beat of syncopated ragtime music appealed to younger folks concurrently it was abhorred by their elders. One may draw parallels, I suppose, with as we speak’s rap music. However some of the vital factors, from a historic perspective, is how troublesome it was for African American musicians of that period to claim their declare to the origins of ragtime music as quickly as white musicians, working for the large publishers on Tin Pan Alley, started churning out scores of ragtime hits and reaping big income. It was Ben Harney, a white musician from Kentucky, who in 1896 first popularized ragtime in New York Metropolis and have become the highest-paid headliner in vaudeville. It wasn’t till 1913 that an African American, the comic Bert Williams, was featured as a Broadway headliner. The actual fact is, racial prejudice saved many black entertainers from reaching the extent of success of their white counterparts.

What had been a number of the greatest controversies surrounding Ragtime?

The music itself was an enormous controversy. Originally of the twentieth century, when ragtime was already vastly widespread, the American Federation of Musicians went as far as to undertake a decision characterizing it as “unmusical rot.” Even within the African American neighborhood, there was an influential group of artists and intellectuals who felt that the recognition of ragtime was a detriment to the event of a “severe class” of American music primarily based on slave spirituals and extra in step with established requirements of respectable composing. Then there was the controversy over who may play “genuine” ragtime. African American musicians struggling for recognition claimed they had been the one ones who may play genuine ragtime, because it was their invention. Ben Harney, alternatively, claimed that he was the inventor of ragtime. This rigidity is a big aspect of my story although throughout the broader context of the emotional journeys of the characters, a few of them white and a few African American, as they seek for love, fame, and the true that means of “success.”

What else ought to folks know concerning the period and setting of your e book?

My novel takes place over fairly a prolonged time-frame, starting in 1895 and ending in 1929, with a ultimate chapter years later in 1943. The bodily settings, vogue, modes of transportation, social mores—all these items needed to change together with the characters’ perceptions and feelings throughout the varied phases of their private dramas. I find it irresistible that so many advance readers of my e book have commented that they felt as in the event that they had been completely immersed within the vaudeville period and the music of ragtime. Readers of historic fiction at all times wish to study one thing from the books they learn. I make no secret of the truth that my e book is fiction, however it’s grounded in quite a lot of historic truth that offers it substance and authenticity. I hope that readers of TEMPTATION RAG will take a look at the period in a brand new means having seen it by the eyes of a number of the real-life individuals who made it nice.

Creator Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard

Temptation Rag goes on sale December 3, 2018 in paperback and on e-book retailers.

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Tagged music, New York Metropolis, Ragtime


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