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Rethinking Mendelssohn$
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Benedict Taylor

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190611781

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190611781.001.0001

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Sibling Love and the Daemonic

Sibling Love and the Daemonic

Contradictions in the Relationship between Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn

(p.140) 6 Sibling Love and the Daemonic
Rethinking Mendelssohn

Angela Mace Christian

Oxford University Press

Sibling love in the relationship between Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn has become recognized in recent years as one of the most important formational aspects of their lives and music. Based on the wider publication of the letters and music of both composers, we have come to realize just how much each influenced the other. However, a few questions have remained unanswered regarding the nature of that relationship and the almost indescribably intense intellectual bond they shared. Using interdisciplinary methodologies provided by kinship studies and drawing extensively on Fanny’s correspondence, this chapter provides social context for understanding just how unusual the two siblings’ marriages were for the time and what that can tell us about their artistic relationship. The chapter introduces a new term, siberoticism, and tackles the meaning behind the strange letter in which Fanny tells Felix that he exerts a ‘daemonic’ influence over her.

Keywords:   Felix Mendelssohn, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, sibling love, kinship studies, incest, siberoticism

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