Chapter

Robert Schumann and the Culture of German Nationhood

Celia Applegate

in Rethinking Schumann

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780195393859
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894406 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195393859.003.0001
Robert Schumann and the Culture of German Nationhood

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This chapter considers the conceptions of liberal nationhood that underlay Schumann's consciousness of nationality. His response to much of the musical culture of his time and his understanding of the national community—its potential and its problems—remained remarkably stable over the course of his life, suggesting that however great the shock of the revolutionary events of 1848-49, they did not lead either him or his fellow nationalists to discard hopes for musical and national progress. Central to the liberal nationalist project was the determination to shape and to experience the national community through activism in the public sphere, and journalism was always a key aspect of this activism. What Jürgen Habermas called the “emancipation of opinion from economic dependence” remained at the heart of Schumann's journalistic efforts and of the liberal project of nation‐making altogether. It entailed, for Schumann, opposition to what he considered the artificiality and commercialism of cosmopolitan musical life and an effort to create what he and others considered an authentic national culture, grounded in the public life of particular communities.

Keywords: nationalism; cosmopolitanism; authenticity; place; public life; liberalism; Meyerbeer; Mendelssohn; journalism

Chapter.  5674 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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