Schubert, Platen, and the Myth of Narcissus

Kristina Muxfeldt

in Vanishing Sensibilities

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199782420
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919154 | DOI:
Schubert, Platen, and the Myth of Narcissus

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At the end of the collection of critical essays, this chapter takes up Schubert’s setting of a poem by August von Platen, whose invocation of the myth of Narcissus at once veils and communicates its same-sex reference: this is a sensibility profoundly shaped by censorship, social and institutional. The chapter proceeds backwards from a puzzled twentieth-century reception of the song’s remarkable harmony and rhetoric to an investigation of early nineteenth-century literary strategies for calling up the forbidden subject. Schubert’s drastic musical emphases point to exactly the terms needed to grasp the referential background, mythic and psychological, of Platen’s poem. This is the oldest work in the book, revised and expanded to address recent developments and supplied with new pictures and autograph plates.

Keywords: Schubert; Platen; Myth of Narcissus; censorship; same-sex passion; reception

Chapter.  17507 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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