What drives the wise

“There is hardly any treatise which could be too learned for me. I have not the slightest pretension to what is properly called erudition. Yet from my childhood I have striven to understand what the better and wiser people of every age were driving at in their works. Shame on an artist who does not consider it his duty to achieve at least as much.”

– Beethoven, in a letter to Breitkopf and Härtel, November 2, 1809.

Anderson, Emily, ed. (1961) The Letters of Beethoven. 3 Vol., London: St. Martin’s Press. Letter 228. Cited in: Marek, George (1969) Beethoven: Biography of a Genius. London: William Kimber, p.178.