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Grant number: FT-60457-13

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Edmund J. Goehring
University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario N6A 5B8 Canada)

A Troubling Genius: Early Mozart Reception and Modern Music Historiography

The creative genius as wellspring of art and history--this legacy of nineteenth-century thought has received sustained critiques from numerous disciplines. Important recent Mozart scholarship follows this path in regarding the ingenious Mozart as a Romantic myth that has clouded our understanding of his life and art. Casting aside the concept of genius has brought lasting gains to Mozart studies; even so, my proposal pursues a contrary hypothesis: that some leading objections to genius misread the historical record and raise their own conceptual hurdles. Supporting this counterclaim are early nineteenth-century documents, often little known, that approach Mozart's originality and exemplarity with bewilderment rather than idolatry. The deficiencies of these critiques have several conceptual sources: a tendency to read Kant via Nietzsche, to conflate aesthetic with scientific questions, and to draw too strict a separation between the world of art and that of material culture.

Project fields:
Music History and Criticism

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2013 – 7/31/2013