Saturday, July 30, 2011

Heroine of the Weekend

We haven't had a Heroine in a couple of weeks! So let's take a look at Maria Anna (Nannerl) Mozart, born on July 30, 1751....

Nannerl, the older sister of Wolfgang, was born in Salzburg, and started learning the harpsichord from her father Leopold when she was about 7, along with her brother. The two of them became a sensation on the European musical tour circuit, visiting cities and royal courts. At first Nannerl was the number one star attraction, but as she got older that changed--"from 1768 onwards she was no longer permitted to show her artistic talent on travels with her brother, as she had reached marriageable age." She still played music in private and for friends, and her brother later wrote a few pieces for her. There is some evidence from his letters that she also composed, but none of her works survive. While he went on more tours she stayed home with her parents.

After her father refused to let her marry her first choice (it seems she was not rebellious at all, unlike her brother!) she married an older, well-to-do magistrate named Johann Sonnenburg, who was already twice widowed and had 5 children. She had three of her own, two daughters (one of whom died in infancy) and a son, who was raised by her father for his first two years. When her husband died in 1801 she returned to Salzburg with her children and taught music. She seems to have lived quietly for the rest of her life, though she did connect with her brother's widow and son later on.

Some sources on her life:
A novel by Alison Bauld, Mozart's Sister (2005)
Maynard Solomon, Mozart: A Life (1995)
Jane Glover, Mozart's Women (2005)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Here's a little something to help me get over the middle-of-the-week doldrums--my fantasy car (plus Richard Hammond, my secret Brit boyfriend....I watched a lot of Top Gear while I was sick...)

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Blog Tour

No Heroine this weekend (stay tuned next weekend!) but I am on a blog tour with Paula Quinn and Sue-Ellen Welfonder, so be sure and visit me on these sites to comment and win fun stuff!!

July 18:
www.lovetoreadforfun. com

July 19

July 20

July 21

July 22

July 23

July 24

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Heroine of the Weekend

Hello everyone! I am finally ending my long, illness-based hiatus with a short Heroine post, just to get myself back in the blogging mindset (and to celebrate feeling better!). Our Heroine is novelist Ann Radcliffe, born July 9, 1764, and considered the founder of the Gothic sub-genre thanks to her vivid use of dramatic landscapes and the supernatural (though the supernatural always had a logical explanation in the end). When I first started reading romances, Gothics were some of my favorites. Give me a cover with a girl in a nightgown running along a moonlit cliff and I was there! And I have Radcliffe to thank for those great reading experiences.

The reason this post will be brief is simply that not much is known about her life beyond the bare facts. In 1823, the year she died, the Edinburgh Review said "She never appeared in public, nor mingled in private society, but kept herself apart." She was born Ann Ward in London, the daughter of a haberdasher, and in 1787 married William Radcliffe, the editor of the English Chronicle, and started writing soon after. The couple had no children, but were said to have a happy marriage. She died on February 7, 1823, probably of asthma.

She published 6 novels in all, the best known of which are probably and The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Romance of the Forest. She was an influence on many other writers, including Walter Scott, Poe, the Shelleys, and Austen (who parodied "Udolpho" in Northanger Abbey).

Most of my info today came from the intro to my copy of Udolpho and from British Authors Before 1800: A Biographical Dictionary (1952, ed. Stanley Kunitz & Howard Haycraft)