2017 Student Research Conference:
30th Annual Student Research Conference

The Effect of Gender on Popular Narratives of Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms’ Relationship


Taylor L. Jokerst♦
Dr. David McKamie, Faculty Mentor

Despite a consensus among scholars that there is insufficient documentary evidence to support the view that a romantic relationship existed between Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms, authors of some music appreciation texts describe an overly-romanticized account thereof.  The view that there was a lack of romantic involvement between Johannes and Clara is founded on historical understandings about gender relationships and how these gender issues are reflected in primary-source correspondence. Many authors make the mistake of not considering the letters between Brahms and Clara Schumann which shows that, while Brahms had amorous feelings for Clara Schumann, she did not reciprocate those feelings toward him.  Even though some authors use pieces of music in an attempt to support the notion that an amorous relationship did indeed exist, societal conceptions of gender at the time and documentary evidence from Brahms lead most scholars to conclude that no actual romantic relationship can be proven.

Keywords: Brahms, Clara Schumann, Gender, Historiography, Relationship

Topic(s):Music
Women's and Gender Studies
Interdisciplinary

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 214-2
Location: OP 2240
Time: 9:45

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♦ Indicates Truman Graduate Student
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