In spite of the sprightly tone, this translation of Gruber's study of Mozart's reception, reputation, and influence, mostly in Germany, is narrow, heavy-handed, and repetitive, lacking the interdisciplinary range and critical sophistication promised by the publisher. According to Gruber, Mozart was neglected during his lifetime because music was not viewed as a serious occupation, but he was venerated in his death. The reputation of the composer's operas and orchestral works then went through various stages reflecting public taste, political or partriotic values, publishing opportunities, and performance. Between 1800 and 1830, he was deified by the Romantics, published and performed in England as well as at Weimar, considered in opposition to Beethoven, whose wild sublimities appealed to a quite different taste. Between 1830 and 1900, he was ``sanitized'' in idealizing biographies, statues, commemorative coins, and festivals. In the 20th century, he was ``commercialized'' and found a new popularity and interpretation from Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus and Milos Forman's movie of it. Goethe, E.T.A. Hoffman, Kierkegaard, G.B. Shaw, Wagner, Strauss, Marc Chagall, Ingmar Bergman, all found their own Mozart, responding to the protean nature of his genius. Admired as a prodigy, depicted as a Roman, as Orpheus, as a favorite of Apollo, or interpreted as the reincarnation of Raphael or Shakespeare, Mozart became a projection of the values and needs of each age, reflecting as much as influencing, responding simultaneously to conflicting critical interpretations. In spite of the methodical surface, the actual focus, thesis, purpose, even character of the text is summarized in the befogged conclusion: ``History as development becomes a metahistory of kaleidoscopic juxtapositions,'' which explains but does not justify the absence of shape, direction, and context in this study. Fortunately, Mozart prevails.

Pub Date: May 1, 1994

ISBN: 1-55553-194-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1994

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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