This is a revised chapter of my dissertation ‘Early reception of Handel’s oratorios, 1732–1784: narrative – studies – documents’ (Stanford University, 2004). Additional research was conducted on a John M. Ward Fellowship in Dance and Music for the Theatre at Harvard’s Houghton Library, whose generous and learned staff I wish to thank. David Hunter’s strong position on Lady Brown, and its partisan defence in some quarters, did have an impact on my approach to this topic. However, my disagreement with Professor Hunter stands on a foundation of collegial gratitude for his courage and efforts to probe long-held views on Handel
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