About the BookBoth a beguiling portrait of the artist and an idiosyncratic self-portrait of the author, Mysterious Mozart is Philippe Sollers's alternately oblique and searingly direct interpretation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's oeuvre and lasting mystique, audaciously reformulated for the postmodern age.
With a mix of slang, abstractions, quotations, first- and third-person narratives, and blunt opinion, French writer and critic Philippe Sollers taps into Mozart's playful correspondence and the lesser-known pieces of his enormous repertoire to analyze the popularity and public perceptions of his music. Detailing Mozart's drive to continue producing masterpieces even when saddled with debt and riddled with illness and anxiety, Sollers powerfully and meticulously analyzes Mozart's seven last great operas using a psychoanalytical approach to the characters' relationships.
As Sollers explores themes of constancy, prodigy, freedom, and religion, he offers up bits of his own history, revealing his affinity for the creative geniuses of the eighteenth century and a yearning to bring that era's utopian freedom to life in contemporary times. What emerges is an inimitable portrait of a man and a musician whose greatest gift is a quirky companionability, a warm and mysterious appeal that distinguishes Mozart from other great composers and is brilliantly echoed by Sollers's artful tangle of narrative.
* Publication of this book was supported by a grant from the Henry and Edna Binkele Classical Music Fund.
About the AuthorPhilippe Sollers is a French biographer, editor, critic, and novelist whose work includes books on Dante, Willem De Kooning, Pablo Picasso, and Giacomo Casanova. He is a cofounder of the avant-garde journal Tel Quel and the founder of L'Infini. Armine Kotin Mortimer is a professor of French at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the author of Writing Realism: Representations in French Fiction and a study of Sollers's Paradis.
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Reviews"A most intriguing alternative, in content and method, to almost all other recent books on Mozart. Highly recommended."--Choice
"A journey of fanciful discovery. . . . Opinionated and laden with insights."--Opera News
"A good read from a highly published and interesting thinker who loves Mozart's music."--Journal of Austrian Studies
"Philippe Sollers is a mercurial personality and a leading controversial figure on the French literary scene, and his take on Mozart is fresh, lively, witty, and informed. What makes Mysterious Mozart especially interesting is its blend of music criticism, biography, and personal insight."--David Hayman, translator and editor of Philippe Sollers's Writing and the Experience of Limits