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Beethoven was a genius so universal that his popularity, extraordinary even during his lifetime, has never ceased to grow. It now encircles the globe: Beethoven's most famous works are as beloved in Beijing as they are in Boston. Biographer Morris brings the composer to life as a man of astonishing complexity and overpowering intelligence. A gigantic, compulsively creative personality unable to tolerate constraints, he was not so much a social rebel as an astute manipulator of powerful and privileged aristocrats, at a time when their world was threatened by the rise of Napoleon. Struggling against progressive, incurable deafness (which he desperately tried to keep secret), he nonetheless produced towering masterpieces. Morris illuminates Beethoven's life, including his interactions with the women he privately lusted for but held at bay, and his work, whose grandeur and beauty were conceived "on the other side of silence.