Mozart, Genius, and the Possibilities of Art
Title Details

378 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

59 musical exx. and 19 b/w illus.

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Series Vol. Number: 197

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

Mozart, Genius, and the Possibilities of Art

by Edmund J. Goehring

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
Demonstrates that the concept of genius is as vitally needed as ever and can illuminate the workings of Mozart's creative imagination.

Much recent, distinguished Mozart criticism has set out a critique of the concept of genius. Whether following the scientist seeking greater objectivity, the postmodernist proclaiming the death of the author, the historian concerned about anachronism, or the critic who warns about making despotic claims, this demystifying literature has taken the weakening of genius's accumulated cultural authority as an indispensable step in arriving at a clarified Mozart.

Mozart, Genius, and the Possibilities of Art advances a contrary claim. It proposes that anti-Romantic accounts of Mozart's genius themselves get lost in both the infinitely big—in utopianism and millenarianism—and the infinitesimally small—in materialism and process. Throughout, the book buttresses this argument with probing readings from contemporary documents ranging from ephemeral periodical literature to Kant's Third Critique, along with original analyses of the music itself.

Goehring's book goes on to detail a contrasting Romantic portrait of Mozart's genius, one that allowed for ambiguity, embraced experience, and did not scorn reason. In Mozart's day, the term genius spoke to the unquantifiable and unpredictable in human inventiveness. And it continues to do so today. Goehring shows how the persisting fascination with an ingenious Mozart wells up from the middle of things, from the particularity of human beings—their "genie"—and the visible yet complex world of human intention and action.
Introduction: The Genius and Democracy, Part 1
PART I. HISTORY
1 An Eschatology of Influence; or, an Ingenious Mozart at the Threshold of Romanticism
2 Genius in the Marketplace
PART II. ART and BIOGRAPHY
3 Mozart and Genius in Early Romantic Biography and Art Criticism
4 The Two Faces of Genius in Early Mozart Reception
PART III. SCIENCE
5 Mozart among the Scientists; or, Parascience and Positivism in Mozart Reception
6 Kant on Genius and Science
PART IV. CRITICISM and INTERPRETATION
7 The Excluded Subject in Recent Music Criticism
8 The Kaleidoscope and the Quintet: on Individual Talent and General Style in Mozart

Afterword: The Genius and Democracy, Part 2

Appendix1
Appendix 2
Bibliography
Index

EDMUND J. GOEHRING is Professor of Musicology at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.

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Title Details

378 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

59 musical exx. and 19 b/w illus.

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Series Vol. Number: 197

Imprint: University of Rochester Press