The Mozart Myths: A Critical Reassessment

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Stanford University Press, Oct 1, 1993 - Biography & Autobiography - 300 pages
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This book is an ambitious attempt to separate what is actually known (and can be known) about Mozart from the many myths and legends that have grown up about his life, character, and death. It subjects individual myths to critical and scholarly scrutiny—weighing the evidence on which it is based, and critically assessing the reliability of that evidence.

The author first considers the question of Mozart's death in 1791 at the age of 35, a subject that intrigued his contemporaries and has continued to fascinate posterity. No other aspect of Mozart's life has engendered so many dramatic and colorful myths. The stage play and movie Amadeus incorporated virtually all these myths and, indeed, most of the other myths associated with Mozart.

In the remainder of this book, the author treats in similar fashion other legends relating to Mozart's alleged maturity, drinking, extravagance, unreliability, womanizing, and professional failure. There is also much material on the nature of Mozart's genius, the influence of Freemasonry on his work, and the value of his last compositions. The book is illustrated with 8 pages of halftones and line drawings.

  

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The Mozart myths: a critical reassessment

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Stafford (philosophy, history of ideas, Huddersfield Polytechnic, England) has written a fascinating, well-documented review of the many popular stories about Mozart, concentrating especially on the ... Read full review

Contents

Was there foul play?
31
The medical history
56
Beast and angel
85
Eves part in his downfall
118
Genius and misfit
144
The rebel
177
A theodicy 207
225
CONCLUSION
263
Index
278
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About the author (1993)

William Stafford is Principal Lecturer in Philosophy and the History of Ideas at Huddersfield Polytechnic, in England.

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