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Schubert [a novel]

Peter Härtling, translated by Rosemary Smith
Schubert [a novel]
ISBN: 978-08419-1347-9
1995/258 pages
Distributed for Holmes & Meier Publishers

"Elegant, lyrical, and convincing ... Härtling tries not only to make us hear Schubert's music, but also—a further impossibility—to make us see his life as if it were happening now ... This moving and memorable portrait of tragic genius rings true."—Publishers Weekly

"Härtling's late 20th-century propensity to seek the reality beneath the myths of an earlier, merrier Vienna yields a thought-provoking picture of life in this fascinating city."—Library Journal

"It will be read with pleasure and profit by musicians as well as literary readers and people who simply enjoy offbeat biographies. Frankly, I think Schubert is a little gem."—Harry Zohn, Brandeis University

" ... the most convincingly real portrait of an artist, a place, and a time. Härtling has steeped himself so thoroughly in every facet of Schubert's life ... above all in the music, that he is able to take us with him into the very heart of the composer's life."—Boston Book Review


Brilliant, soulful, poor, and doomed to a short life, Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828) in many ways embodied the Romantic era in which he lived. In this vibrant biographical novel, Peter Härtling brings the composer to life as a man of exquisite sensitivity, passionate extremes, and a profound sense of rootlessness much like the famous wanderers of his musical creations.

The deftly interwoven description and dialogue recreate Schubert's family, education, friendships, loves, and the exciting milieu of Vienna during the Napoleonic era, where Schubert was introduced to the many works of his contemporaries, including Beethoven, Rossini, Salieri, Schiller, and Goethe.


Peter Härtling has had a long career as writer, editor, and managing director in the world of newspaper, magazine, and book publishing. A prolific author, he has devoted himself to writing full-time since 1974.