This candid, intimate, and compellingly written new biography offers a completely fresh account of Robert Schumann's life. It confronts the traditional perception of the doom-laden Romantic, forced by depression into a life of helpless, poignant sadness. John Worthen's scrupulous attention to the original sources reveals Schumann to have been an astute, witty, articulate and immensely determined individual who, with little support from his background in provincial Saxony, painstakingly taught himself his craft as a musician, overcame problem after problem in his professional life, and married the woman he loved after a tremendous battle with his father-in-law. Schumann was neither manic depressive nor schizophrenic, though he struggled with financial problems and illness. He worked prodigiously hard to develop his range of musical styles and to earn his living, only to be struck down, at the age of forty-four, by a vile and incurable disease. Worthen's biography effectively demystifies a figure frequently regarded as a Romantic enigma. It frees Schumann from one hundred and fifty years of myth-making and unjustified psychological speculation. It reveals him, for the first time, as a brilliant, passionate, resolute musician and thoroughly creative human being, and as the composer of arguably the best music of his generation.