Ludwig van Beethoven

(3183 words)
  • Ruth Starkman (University of San Francisco)

“Just as Italy has its Naples, France its revolution, England its navy, the Germans have their Beethoven symphonies. With his Beethoven, the German forgets that he has no school of painting; with Beethoven, he imagines that he has turned round the outcomes of the battles lost to Napoleon; he even dares place him on the same level as Shakespeare.” (Robert Schumann)

“Beethoven always sounds to me like the upsetting of bags of nails, with here and there an also dropped hammer.” (John Ruskin)

When Napoleon entered Vienna in 1809, Joseph Haydn lay dying, and with him the old world aristocracy. The young Ludwig van Beethoven, however, embodied the t…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Starkman, Ruth. "Ludwig van Beethoven". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 January 2004
[, accessed 02 July 2015.]

Articles on Beethoven's works

  1. Fidelio