Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Rethinking Schumann$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Roe-Min Kok and Laura Tunbridge

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195393859

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195393859.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2017. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 18 August 2017

Who Was Mignon? What Was She?

Who Was Mignon? What Was She?

Popular Catholicism and Schumann's Requiem, Op. 98b

Chapter:
(p.88) 6 Who Was Mignon? What Was She?
Source:
Rethinking Schumann
Author(s):

Roe‐Min Kok (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195393859.003.0006

Following its premiere in November 1850 and several subsequent performances, Schumann's Requiem für Mignon, Op. 98b, received eight reviews, the overwhelming majority of which expressed ambivalence toward the work. This chapter explores one cultural milieu behind the Requiem's problematic early reception, using the 1851 review of the Cologne‐based critic Ludwig Bischoff as the lens through which to view and probe the milieu. Bischoff questioned how faithfully Schumann had followed Goethe's text, but also—the focus of this chapter—contested Mignon's identity in death. Dissatisfied with Schumann's Mignon, Bischoff proffered an alternative portrayal of the child that magnified her similitude to innocent angelic children, echoing a move by the eminent artist Wilhelm von Schadow in his controversial painting Mignon (1828). Bischoff also emphasized the child's difficult life and untimely death, tropes found in midcentury literature, including fairy tales. In the heart of the Catholic Rhineland the angelic child archetype, tragic fairy tale narrative, and allegorical representations carried strong religious connotations. This chapter proposes that the ambivalent reception of the Requiem was, to a considerable extent, colored by the religious revival of Catholicism in the Düsseldorf‐Cologne region in the 1850s and the position within this culture of a requiem for a troubled young girl who had died tragically. Based on points made by Bischoff and clues left by Schumann, the chapter proposes that the composer instead modeled his Mignon after another child archetype, puer senex (cryptic child) from Novalis's Hymns to the Night.

Keywords:   Requiem for Mignon, Op. 98b, Ludwig Bischoff, Wilhelm von Schadow, death of child, popular Catholicism, Rhineland, fairy tale archetype, Novalis, Hymns to the Night

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .