Autograph letter signed ("Beethoven"), 3 pages (9 3/8 x 8 3/8 in.; 239 x 214 mm), in German, [Vienna, shortly after 26 September 1826] to Ignaz Czapka regarding Beethoven's nephew, Karl, who had recently attempted suicide; integral autograph address leaf, paper seal, seal tear affecting one word of text, repairs to integral address leaf, splits to two folds, minute paper loss at two diffrerent intersecting folds (not affecting text), a small marginal tear at bottom left corner.
A plea for some time with his nephew. Beethoven writes to the Viennese magistrate, Ignaz Czapka, regarding his nephew Karl, who had recently attempted suicide. He informs Czapka he and Hofrat von Breuning have deliberated intensively and they have decided that Karl should spend a few days with Beethoven following the young man's attempted suicide and before he joins the army. He assures his correspondent that Karl's earlier statements were just outbursts of anger and that of late he has been more temperate and affectionate. He reminds Czapka that he himself is of a philanthropic disposition and suggests it might be just as well for Karl to know that he is being observed, unseen, while he is with the composer.
An extraordinary letter recording Beethoven's struggle for emotional and physical possession of his nephew.
Beethoven's relationship with his nephew was extremely fraught. The composer truly loved Karl but emotionally smothered him and became utterly obsessed with him. Believing his sister-in-law to be an unfit mother, Beethoven tried to drive a wedge between Karl and his mother. It was Beethoven himself who was very nearly the cause of the young man's death. Karl's attempted suicide on 30 July 1826 was a devastating blow to the composer. After the young man tried to shoot himself he was taken to the home of his mother and then to the General Hospital in Vienna. It was while he was in the hospital that Karl decided to join the army against Beethoven's wishes. Karl was discharged from the hospital on 25 September and joined his uncle. Beethoven and his nephew later left Vienna to spend some time at Gneixendorf. Beethoven's health deteriorated dramatically and rapidly after Karl's attempted suicide. Just three days before his death on 26 March 1827, he bequeathed his entire estate to his beloved nephew Karl.
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