Hello, and welcome to GingerMyrick.com! As you can tell by the heading and the graphic at the right, I am participating in the Hearts Through History Hop. I am currently running a Valentine special for half-off on El Rey: A Novel of Renaissance Iberia for Kindle. You can pick up a copy of this 500+ page historical love story set in 16th century Portugal and Spain for just $2.99 until 2/16. El Rey has a 4.5-star average rating and is a clean read. My giveaway will be for one ebook version (Kindle or Nook format) of The Welsh Healer: A Novel of 15th Century England, which has a 4.9-star average at Amazon and is also a clean love story. This book does have an element of the supernatural. Please make sure you read the caveat before entering the drawing. You will find an excerpt here, which deals directly with the main character’s mystical healing ability. You can also read the first three chapters and a portion of the fourth by clicking on the book cover here. If you are good with it, just leave a comment at the end of this post to enter until 2/16. Now on with the hop!
The Lost Art of the Love Letter: Beethoven vs. the Modern Man
The instructions given to authors participating in the Valentine blog hop asked us to post our favorite mushy historical anecdote, and to me there is nothing mushier than Ludwig van Beethoven’s collection of Immortal Beloved Letters. Yes, he is the same Beethoven who composed all of those stirring musical works from Für Elise and Moonlight Sonata to his symphonies, which are nine in number and the basis for many a religious hymn. As with any form of creative expression, there are detractors from his genius (obviously I am not one of them!) but I think whoever listens to the music, whether he likes it or not, would agree with alacrity that it was written with an abounding passion. And it would seem that Herr van Beethoven’s zeal was not confined to musical composition.
Although destined for greatness, Ludwig was plagued by hardship his entire life, and it seemed this ill-fortune also extended to affairs of the heart. As a young man he was reported to have been in love twice, and though it is said his affections were reciprocated on both occasions, his proposals were ultimately rejected due to class issues. But a passionate nature will not be tamed, and where the ladies were concerned, the fiery musician continued to follow his heart, unheeding of those early repudiations. In the summer of 1812, Beethoven was ordered by his doctor to spend the season at the Czech spa town of Teplitz in an attempt to restore his health, which had steadily deteriorated over the years. This was where he penned his legendary “Immortal Beloved Letters”.
As the composer had never married and was not known to be openly courting an inamorata at the time, the intended recipient of these flowery declarations of love is a mystery, one that has not been solved even after 200+ years of investigation by Beethoven scholars. There are several likely candidates for the object of his adoration, but no one can say with any certainty who THE lucky lady was. Of course, the intrigue only adds to the air of fascination surrounding the affair, but the words themselves are exceedingly romantic and possess the capacity to send a woman’s heart soaring in flights of fancy as effectively as his soul-stirring sonatas.
I have taken the liberty of using only the most impressive snippets from the writings, so keep in mind that the following was not all set forth in one brilliant flash of transcription. That said, it is still quite dazzling! And with such a romantic legend surrounding the affair, could any modern-day suitor really compete? Probably not, but let’s give it a whirl.
“My angel, my all, my very self – Only a few words today and at that with pencil (with yours) …”
Sigh … My own husband is admittedly quite handy with an eloquent turn of phrase. Truth be told, he is rather adept, literarily speaking, and writes me a poem most mornings when he is not dying of intestinal upset in a third world country or raucously snoring away on our couch in an attempt to recover from acute jet lag. He has even on occasion called me an angel, but never, NEVER has he followed it up with an apology for not having more to write or mooned over the fact that he used my personal instrument to accomplish the task. Now, let’s hear some more from Beethoven!
“Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us – I can live only wholly with you or not at all …”
Okay, I know my husband loves me. He has proven it over and over throughout the years. And although it is a tacit understanding between the two of us that we are two halves of a whole, he rarely declares it in such an achingly … well … aching fashion, as if he would perish for lack of my company. Then there’s the bit about “joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us”. Maybe that’s why hubby is so temperamental. Being in limbo like that is enough to drive a guy nuts. Maybe there are more similarities here than at first meet the eye.
“My heart is full of so many things to say to you – ah – there are moments when I feel that speech amounts to nothing at all …”
Now it’s all starting to come together. This must be why, more often than not, my husband’s appreciation of our union is expressed through a series of grunts and occasional boyish, half mumbled I-love-yous, followed by a reddening of the cheeks and downturned gaze. The only thing missing is the rubbing of an invisible spot on the floor with the toe of his battered tennies. After all, he is only nine. Perhaps Beethoven suffered a bit of the same.
“Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men – At my age I need a steady, quiet life – can that be so in our connection?”
That my husband is a man is debatable, but I’ll let that slide for now. And again with the split personality, “at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men”. And what nine-year-old doesn’t need a “steady, quiet life” even if his mercurial temperament is the thing preventing it! But, boys will be boys, and I have accepted that. It makes our everyday life run much more smoothly when I keep this in the forefront of my mind. Hmm … And now to Ludwig’s closing phrase.
Wow! What woman could not help but swoon at such a strong finish! And of course, this is really the way you want to wrap things up. The final words are the ones that will make a lasting impression, so they had better sweep her off of her feet.
Anyway, the mystery surrounding these confessions of undying devotion persists today, and perhaps the puzzle will never be solved. Personally, I hope it will not. For some reason we equate mystery with romance, and … really … who wants to hear about Ludwig and his ‘Immortal Beloved’ bickering over how he failed to remove his boots at the front door and tracked mud all over the freshly polished wood floors? Or how Frau Beethoven vowed never again to serve sausage and kraut for dinner before a ball, because on the previous occasion her admiring husband belched and broke wind all night long so boisterously that they dared not dance too near the fireplace for fear of his trousers bursting into flames. Those images would suck the romance right out of ANY beautiful legend, precluding its ability to set hearts aflutter and evoke endless wistful sighing.
Much of the rest of the letters are filled with mundane events and boring news of his travel and not really very romantic at all. In fact, it very much reminds me of the conversations between hubby and me when he is en route to yet another faraway location for a routine repair of packaging machinery so that he can earn enough money for the occasional rib roast and snacks for my dog and cat. And despite any flaws, for which I ridicule him so publicly (and this he tolerates with admirable forbearance and much good humor) I love him dearly and would not change him for the world. So, on Valentine’s Day, when my nine-year-old husband proudly presents me with my two slightly smushed and over-priced country bouquets from the local market, accompanied by an economy-sized bag of lemon drops and the ‘BIG BOX’ of Hot Tamales ‘now with 20% more!’ I will understand that it is, in effect, his love letter to me, his Immortal Beloved, and I will thank my lucky stars to know it!
I hope you enjoyed my mushy and ridiculous post. Don’t forget to leave your comment to be entered in the drawing for an electronic copy of The Welsh Healer. Contest ends 2/16. And be sure to visit these other participating author blogs for more chances to win great books and other terrific prizes! Again, thank you for stopping by, and Happy Freakin’ Valentine’s Day!
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