The Introduction both introduces and interprets the main focus of this edited collection: Kaikhosru Sorabji’s complete letters to Philip Heseltine (Peter Warlock). First the principal protagonists are introduced, with a review of the literature and discourses surrounding them. In Sorabji’s case, this entails unpicking some of the problematic elements of his reception history as person, composer and critic, including elements of racist and Orientalist othering, and attendant marginalisation in the context of nationalist narratives of English music. The corpus of letters is introduced, together with explanations of editorial practice and the organisation of materials: the letter transcriptions are interspersed with contemporaneous published and unpublished material from a variety of sources (Heseltine’s letters to other contacts; articles, reviews and letters-to-the-editor) to enhance narrative and perspective.

The core of this section is an interrogation of the letter corpus according to four emergent themes: identities (religion, race and sexuality); geographies (environments and context; encounters and personnel); Sorabji’s compositional awakening and stylistic construction (including rhythmic language and the potential of camp as an interpretative tool); and Sorabji and Heseltine’s mutual influences and interests. The Conclusion draws on the corpus, alongside the work of Ghuman and other scholars, to re-frame Sorabji, Warlock and others as part of an ongoing process of re-evaluating twentieth-century British music historiography.