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Robert Schumann

John Worthen’s Schumann is not the traditional, doom-laden Romantic; he is neither manic-depressive nor schizophrenic, nor a man who went mad after years of depression. A study of the original sources reveals Schumann to have been an astute, tough, articulate and immensely determined individual, who – with little support from his background in provincial Saxony – painstakingly taught himself his craft as a musician, overcame problem after problem in his professional life, married the woman he loved after a tremendous battle with his father-in-law, struggled with financial problems and illness, worked amazingly hard to develop his musical range and to earn his living – to be struck down, at the age of only forty-four, by a vile and incurable disease. But he wrote arguably the best music of his generation.

This biography effectively de-mystifies Schumann: it reveals him as a passionate, resolute musician and a thoroughly creative human being.


‘Beautifully written and meticulously researched’ - Simon Heffer, Literary Review.

‘We have always lacked good biographies of Schumann, and this one will become a standard reference work.’ - Susan Tomes, The Independent.

‘This riveting account of Schumann’s life also manages to encapsulate both the joy and elation of one of music’s greatest, still neglected geniuses, and to express a passionate enthusiasm for his works. For this, Schumannites ought to be deeply grateful’ - Hugh Canning, Sunday Times.

‘The most complete and engrossing account of Schumann’s life yet written. Worthen has marshalled an amazing amount of research into a perceptive study that reads like a good novel’ - Jeremy Nicholas, Classic FM Magazine.

‘Worthen’s handling of Robert and Clara’s complex, protracted courtship amounts to an embedded romantic novel of uncommon intelligence’ - Paul Driver, London Review of Books.

‘Rich in biographical detail… particularly distinguished in accuracy and discrimination of references’ - Michael Musgrave, The Life of Schumann.


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