This chapter examines the legends and stories associated with Beethoven’s so-called ‘Moonlight’ Sonata. Musico-modernist scholarship has not found much to do with the references to Beethoven’s music in E. M. Forster’s ‘A View without a Room’ (1958), a pseudo-epilogue to A Room with a View (1908); Wyndham Lewis’s Tarr (1918); and Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room (1922). Each work, respectively, tells us something about how the terms of Beethovenian convention could enrich depictions of Anglo-German anxiety; bourgeois dullness; and the lure of associativity. In using convention as they do, these texts show how, even if only in passing, convention can prompt a certain kind of cleverness; how convention can channel abstract ideas of despair into articulate, eloquent form—and in channelling them, complicate them.
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