Cover image for Franz Schubert : sexuality, subjectivity, song
Franz Schubert : sexuality, subjectivity, song
Kramer, Lawrence, 1946-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
xii, 183 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML410.S3 K774 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This is the first book to examine Schubert's songs as active shaping forces in the culture of their era rather than as mere reflections of it. Responding to rising new forms of social organisation, Schubert discovered that songs could serve as a medium for shuffling and reshuffling the basic building blocks of identity and desire, especially sexual desire. His songs project a kaleidoscopic array of unexpected human types, all of whom are eligible for a sympathetic response, even the strangest and most disconcerting. Schubert sought to validate these subjective types without subordinating them to a central social or sexual norm. The book describes and contextualises this process and tracks it concretely in a wide variety of songs. Combining close attention to both music and poetry, the book addresses both specialists and non-specialists in a lively, accessible style unburdened by excessive jargon.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The author premises that Schubert's song output actually helped shape the era's culture and did not merely reflect it: song protagonists are unexpected human types that Schubert did not subordinate to accepted social or sexual norms. Schubert represents deviation as a positive affirmation, not a default; his lieder are a theater of subjectivity to advance or retard sociocultural processes. Kramer selects 18 songs to support the contention that Schubert's strategy was to inscribe discourse with intimations of a psychological order other than that for which the discourse normally spoke. He emphasizes relationships between subjectivity and sexuality, ranging through eroticism, mortality, and the uncanny. Many Schubert authorities will question Kramer's subjective analyses of the cited songs. He finds that Schubert shunned artistic display and treated the voice as a nonvirtuoso instrument. But in so doing, Kramer ignores the vast body of dramatic Schubert lieder with its considerable technical demands for both singer and pianist. A companion to Susan Youens's Franz Schubert: Die sch"one M"ullerin (CH, May'93) and Schubert, M"uller, and Die Sch"one M"ullerin (CH, Jan'98). Written for the specialist, this volume adds to an ever-growing literature on the Schubert song legacy. R. Miller; Oberlin College

Table of Contents

1 Interpretive dramaturgy and social drama: Schubert's Erster Verlust
2 Undisciplined song: scorings of the subject
3 Mermaid fancies: Schubert's trout and the wish to be a woman
4 The Ganymed complex: Schubert's songs and the homosexual imagination
5 Masochism and domesticity in Die schone Mullerin
6 Revenants: masculine thresholds in Schubert, James, and Freud