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The Songs of Fanny Hensel$
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Stephen Rodgers

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780190919566

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190919566.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 29 January 2022

Waldszenen and Abendbilder

Waldszenen and Abendbilder

Fanny Hensel, Nikolaus Lenau, and the Nature of Melancholy

(p.35) 3 Waldszenen and Abendbilder
The Songs of Fanny Hensel

Scott Burnham

Oxford University Press

Nikolaus Lenau (1802–1850) is often described as Germany’s greatest poet of Weltschmerz. In his poetry, Lenau steadily invoked Nature and, in particular, the figure of the forest (der Wald), as both a reflection and amplification of his prevailing poetic mood. Fanny Hensel found inspiration in Lenau’s poetry toward the end of her life, setting seven of his poems in the 1840s. This chapter offers close readings of six of those settings, grouped into those that deploy forest imagery in varying degrees (“Vorwurf,” “Kommen und Scheiden,” and “Traurige Wege”) and those that describe or address the evening (“Bitte” and “Abendbild”). Throughout, the emphasis will be on Hensel’s harmonic, melodic, rhythmic, and textural strategies for capturing and coloring Lenau’s merger of nature and melancholy.

Keywords:   Waldeinsamkeit, melancholy, nature, death, Waldszene, Abendbilder, Nikolaus Lenau, Fanny Hensel

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