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Mozart's dirty jokes

posted Sep 10, 2010, 1:51 PM by Florin-Stefan Morar   [ updated Oct 26, 2010, 1:28 PM ]

Today I've read this amazing and brilliant book by Norbert Elias - Mozart: portrait of a genius.

The title is exactly counter to the thesis of the book and should rather be Mozart: portrait of a man. It remains slightly unclear if Elias chose the title himself since the book was published posthumously but this is a small point.

The argument goes that in our culture we invest geniuses with non-human properties - we treat them and describe them as if they were ascetic saints (very Nietzsche I would say). In his biography Elias tries to give a secular, down to earth account of Mozart's life by inscribing the supposed genius in his time, culture and society and showing the oh so human aspect of his life. The image of Mozart as a failure emerges.

In his account Elias brings to light documents previously ignored by historians which humanize the artist and make him - if definitely not one of us - one of his time and place. Here are two letters that bring to light Mozart's very creative lewed humor. The second letter is addressed to Mozart by a close friend showing that Mozart's language was in no way uncommon among young people at that time:

This is addressed to Mozart's cousine and probable mistress

In the greatest haste . . . I now write to inform you that
tomorrow I am leaving for Munich. Dearest coz, don't be a
fuz. I would gladly have gone to Augsburg, I assure you, but
the Imperial Abbot wouldn't let me go . . . Perhaps I shall
take a trip from Munich to Augsburg. But I am not sure
about this. So if it really gives you pleasure to see me, come
to Munich, that fine town. Make a point of being there before
the New Year . . . So come for a bit or else I'll shit.
If you do, this high and mighty person will think you very kind, will
give you a smack behind, will kiss your hands, my dear, shoot
off a gun in the rear, embrace you warmly, mind, and wash
your front and your behind, pay you all his debts to the
uttermost groat, and shoot off one with a rousing note,
perhaps even let something drop from his boat.
Adieu, my angel, my sweetheart.
I am aching to see you.
Do send me a nice little letter of 24 pages to Munich.
Poste Restante

To Mozart by a friend

Wolfgang my dearest friend, your name-day is today
And so I wish for you, my very dearest boy
As much as you could wish, as much as you deserve.
Happy you'll always be, and not by beetles' bit.
Fortune that showed you here nothing but Fortune's arse
Be doubly kind to you, in that far distant place.
That is my heartfelt wish, as truly as I live,
And were it possible, I'd more than wishes give.
So tell you mother please, whom I so much revere,
'That i love her always and often long to see.
Her kindness may she keep, and her friendship for me,
As long as she shall have a crack in her behind.
Stay healthy dearest friend, in joy and merriment
And play from time to time a little fart-duet.

Rosalie Joly