(Post)romantic music criticism in the 19th century. Styles of criticism, exemplified by Robert Schumann and Richard Wagner

(Post)romantische Musikkritik im 19. Jahrhundert. Kritikerstile am Beispiel von Robert Schumann und Richard Wagner
Start - End 
2012 - 2016 (ongoing)
Research Focus 
Research Period 
Additional tags 
German literature



This research project examines the stylistic features of Robert Schumann’s and Richard Wagner’s Musikkritik. The critical writings of both composers have so far been read as a corroboration of Romantic musical poetics. The current state of research, however, has yet to address the striking stylistic diversities between both writers. Schumann, in fact, draws on a narrative model of music criticism and introduces a fictional Davidsbund in which fictional agents voice their opinion, while Wagner goes about it in an undisguised polemic way. In result, we examine the texts themselves and fit them within a larger inquiry into the pragmatic fabric of critical discourse. We read criticism as a communicative process and explore the ways in which authorial and readerly interaction is generated. We wish to show that despite the antithetical stylistic opposition between Schumann’s narrative and Wagner’s polemic model, both authors in fact pursue a similar instructive objective to foster their readers’ judgement.



Phd Student(s)