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July 27 , 2007

The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven, Volume II of III


Kotzebue, after a year of activity in Vienna as Alxinger’s successor in the direction, under the banker Baron von Braun, of the Court Theatre, then a year of exile in Siberia (1800), whence he was recalled by that semi-maniac Paul, who was moved thereto by the delight which the little drama “Der Leibkutscher Peters III.” had given him—then a short time in Jena, where his antagonism to Goethe broke out into an open quarrel, established himself in Berlin. There he began, with Garlieb Merkel (1802), the publication of a polemical literary journal called the “Freymüthige,” Goethe, the Schlegels and their party being the objects of their polemics. Spazier’s “Zeitung für die Elegante Welt” (Leipsic) was its leading opponent, until the establishment of a new literary journal at Jena. At the beginning of 1803, Kotzebue was again in Vienna on his way to Italy. Some citations from the “Freymüthige” of this time have an especial value, as coming, beyond a doubt, from his pen. His position in society, his knowledge from experience of theatrical affairs in Vienna, his personal acquaintance with Beethoven and the other persons mentioned, all combine to enable him to speak with authority. An article in No. 58 (April 12) on the “Amusements of the Viennese after Carnival,” gives a peep into the salon-life of the capital, and introduces to us divers matters of so much interest, as to excuse the want of novelty in certain parts.
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