The Evasions of Late Style
This chapter offers a survey of trends in the twentieth-century reception of Franz Schubert as a way to understand how perceptions of his late style have changed across time and to show the uses to which ideas of lateness can be put in reflecting on the last works of a composer. The understanding of Schubert’s biography and illness, his sexuality, and his musical representations of landscape are discussed in the context of the dual influence of romanticism and modernism on the development of ideas of lateness. The chapter concludes by considering two examples of films that use Schubert’s music to provide insight into characters’ states of mind, and in the process underlines the illusory nature of the belief that hearing music as ‘late’ enables the experience of profundity.
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