Not only did he write music, Robert Schumann was a pedantic diarist, documenting the minutiae of his life in obsessive detail in a series of autobiographical accounts, notes, diary entries and letters. What’s more, he didn’t shy away from recording certain more ‘personal’ details.
It was here the composer recorded a relationship with a woman named Christel (sometimes Charitas in his diaries), who was most likely a member of Clara Wieck’s father’s household. Schumann’s graphic and vivid accounts of his health during this period have led some scholars to the conclusion that he had contracted syphilis.
Robert and Clara Schumann
When he married Clara, the diaries were replaced by the Ehetagebuch or marriage diary, which he give to Clara on September 13, 1840 – her 21st birthday and the day after their wedding. Schumann intended the diary to be “a record of our wishes and our hopes, and the means whereby we may convey to one another any requests we may have to make, for which words may not suffice; and to be a mediator and reconciler should we chance to misjudge or misunderstand one...