||"Ronald Taylor has written the first full-length account of the life, times and work of Robert Schumann for many years. Based on a fresh reading of the original German sources, this wide-ranging, authoritative biography reveals the mind of Schumann behind the traditional image of the sad, romantic comoser of lyrical songs and piano music. Born into a literary family in Zwickau, Saxony, Robert Schumann (1810-56) was a contemporary of Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt and Wagner, and Ronald Taylor shows how throughout his life the twin strands of literature and music interacted. His artistic creativity was most perfectly expressed in miniature, in small-scale works for the piano and in songs, but in addition he composed much orchestral and other work on a grander scale: all this while his life was marred by dramatic crises and sadness. The crucial moments in Schumann's life are movingly recaptured: his four-year struggle, against her father's opposition, to marry the pianist Clara Wieck, his fight against his reticent, withdrawn nature and disturbing extremes of mood (possibly exacerbated by syphilis); his financial worries and the disappointing reception of his music; and finally his attempted suicide and decline into madness. By relating Schumann's work to his intellectual and spiritual life, to the historical currents of his age and to the specific context of 19th-century Romanticism, Ronald Taylor has written a coherent, thoughtful and ultimately tragic biography of one of the musical geniuses of the 19th century."--Dust jacket.