Maynard Solomon's "Beethoven" Book Review by ohn

Maynard Solomon's "Beethoven"
A look at the one-sided nature of Maynard Solomon's portrayal of Ludwig van Beethoven's custody battle in "Beethoven".
# 92865 | 1,548 words | 1 source | MLA | 2003 | US
Published on Mar 02, 2007 in Music Studies (Classical and Baroque) , English (Analysis) , Music Studies (History)

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This paper critically examines Maynard Solomon's portrayal, in his biography "Beethoven", of Ludwig van Beethoven's battle for custody of his nephew Karl. It argues that although Solomon delves into Beethoven's psychology and his motives for pursuing custody, the author fails to objectively depict the custody battle. The paper explains that, instead, Solomon's coverage is uneven and his perspective skewed, and he glosses over certain facts that might have shown Beethoven in a more unfavorable light.

From the Paper:

"In the chapter "Beethoven and his Nephew," Maynard Solomon makes insightful observations about Beethoven's motives for fighting to gain custody of his nephew Karl, and about Beethoven's feelings toward both Karl and his mother Johanna. He examines Beethoven's psychology in depth, and forms interesting connections between Beethoven's actions and previous events in his life. Overall, however, Solomon does not succeed in accurately depicting the conflict. Despite his thorough analysis of Beethoven's psyche, Solomon glosses over how Beethoven's extreme actions affected Karl's development. He rarely mentions Beethoven's cruelty toward Karl and does not treat the boy as a full-blown character in the saga. As if this omission weren't enough, Solomon also attempts to excuse Beethoven's cruel and unethical actions regarding Karl and Johanna. Because of these shortcomings, Solomon fails to appropriately convey the gravity of the conflict; he neglects to devote an appropriate amount of space to Karl himself, and tries to soften the harsh facts of Beethoven's cruelty."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Solomon, Maynard. Beethoven. Schirmer Books, 2nd ed., 2001.

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