Gateway to the Classics: Ludwig Van Beethoven by George P. Upton
Ludwig Van Beethoven by  George P. Upton

Front Matter


T HE life-story of Beethoven, contained in these pages, is a résumé  of the events of his childhood and youth, those of his maturer years being merely indicated in order to give symmetry to the narrative. It covers just that period of his life in which young readers are likely to be interested. Those who have the leisure and inclination to study the details of his entire career will find them in the biographies of Schindler, Ries, Marx, Thayer, and others, but it is questionable whether any of these will bring the reader as closely to the actual man and musician as this little story. And this is so not only because it is a story, but because it is a story true to life, with actual, not imaginary, personages, set in a social, domestic, and musical environment which is accurately reproduced, and dealing with historical events which are correctly stated. In a strict sense, therefore, it is not fiction, far less is it rhapsody; and to this extent it is valuable not alone for facts charmingly set forth, but for effects which are realistic and which seem to bring the actual Beethoven before the reader. It is the story of a sad struggle against obstacles which sometimes appeared almost insuperable; but its lesson for youth is the reward of world-wide fame which followed the exercise of industry, courage, honesty, self-respect, and self-devotion to his calling. The translator has endeavored to reproduce the story in an English setting without sacrificing its charming German characteristics.

G. P. U.

Chicago , September 1, 1904.

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