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Mahlendorf, U. (1976). Mörike's Mozart on the Way to Prague: Stages and Outcomes of the Creative Experience. Am. Imago, 33(3):304-327.

(1976). American Imago, 33(3):304-327

Mörike's Mozart on the Way to Prague: Stages and Outcomes of the Creative Experience

Ursula Mahlendorf, Ph.D.

For romantics as much as for post romantic authors, such as Mörike (1804-1875), Mozart was the paradigm of the exuberant and effortless creator. In his Mozart novella, Mörike telescopes the composer's entire life into the narrative space of some seventy pages and into the compass of a single day. It is an autumn day two years before the French revolution and four years before Mozart's early death. On that day, the thirty-one year old composer, still at work on his Don Juan, travels by coach through Bohemia to Prague. As a consequence of the telescoping technique, each detail of the narrated day stands for a fundamental aspect of the composer's life.

From youth, Mörike was intimately familiar with Mozart and his music. Hoffmann's tale Don Juan (1812) had made a deep and lasting impression on him. He had internalized the composer's life and work to such an extent that he did not need to consult a biography when he came to write his novella. The events of the day and the characters Mozart encounters are Mörike's invention.

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