Books: Recherche

BEETHOVEN AND HIS NEPHEW, by Editha Sferba and Richard Sferba (351 pp.; Pantheon; $5). The authors are concerned with the vulnerable man, not the venerable musician, and apparently are out to demonstrate, largely using Beethoven's own words against him. that the great composer was insufferable. He was slovenly, sadistic, puritanical, suspicious, demanding, uncontrolled, domineering, violent. After he became guardian of his nephew Karl (the boy's father had died), Beethoven tried to own his life com pletely, eventually drove him to an unsuccessful suicide attempt. Freudians Richard and Editha Sterba charge Beethoven with an "unconscious homosexual" relationship with both his brothers;...

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