View Full Version : Beethoven's fantasy life

11-08-2000, 03:58 AM
I have recently read some really interesting information and speculation about beethoven and his so-called 'fantasy life' in which he played out the fantasies associated with a 'nobler' upbringing. Beethoven as a child was deluded into believing he was younger than he really was (b. 1772 instead of 1770) and this was apparently something that he hung onto tenuously for many years. One could think that this was an attempt to confirm his own virtuosity, his own eminence.
More interesting, though, is this speculation by M. Solomon that Beethoven harbored a 'Family Romance', a Freud-identified state where one's current family situation was embellished or downright 'corrected' by fantasies of a more respectable family relationship by the person nurturing these fantasies. It seems Beethoven had the occasional rumor about him being descended from royalty, rumors that B. never refuted. It is possible, according to Solomon, that B. enjoyed these rumors as they helped cultivate his 'improved family' fantasy and allowed him to create more pleasant filial attachments to his father, who would've been the parental figure replaced (by royalty) in his fantasy. If this is true, this helps bring a more human aspect to Beethoven's childhood, and reinforces the idea that his childhood was not very happy. What do you think of this?

11-08-2000, 03:51 PM
It appears that B wasn't certain of his true age until he requested his baptism certificate in 1810 at a time that he was contemplating marriage with Therese Malfatti.I don't think Beethoven was deluded in this (his father had made him out to be 2 years younger than he was) - I simply don't think he was that interested in his age.
Beethoven certainly tried to use the rumours of his noble birth to his advantage, most notably in the court cases for custody of his nephew Karl. Many people thought that 'Van' was the same as the German 'Von' (which does signify nobility) - Who can blame B for taking full advantage of this ! I must admit I find the fantasy theory a bit far fetched, but on the other hand as a child it is quite possible, although I don't see how it could have improved relations with his father.

'Man know thyself'