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Review

Volume 10 • Number 1

Spring 2003


 

 

Beethoven Enshrined

by Caryl L. Clark

Beethoven and His World. Edited by Scott Burnham and Michael P. Steinberg. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000. x, 383pp.

F rom the cover of the paperback edition of this book, a powerful, stone-faced Beethoven stares out at the viewer, the hardness of the marble image belying the impermanence of the pliable softcover. Intelligence and determination dominate the representation. The composer's unruly hair, which extends beyond the boundaries of the book cover in defiance of prescribed limitations, is whisked back to expose a protruding brow bathed in light, as if to suggest the act of inspired thought taking place within the large cerebral cortex. Set on broad shoulders and a squat yet sturdy neck, Beethoven's head is made to appear larger than life, emphasizing the solidity of the figure whose steely eyes fixate on some unseen point while simultaneously burrowing directly into the viewer's soul. Far from inanimate, this penetrating gaze is disturbing in the uncanny way it appears to animate the frozen lips into uttering: "I am Beethoven."

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