Music20 Jul 2007 08:29 am
If Felix Mendelssohn were the only famous member of his family, the clan would still have quite a bit to be proud of. Felix was one of the great composers of the Romantic Period, and his “Wedding March” may be the most commonly performed piece from the era. But Felix’s grandfather Moses was no less accomplished himself. Regarded by some as the “Third Moses” (after the Biblical Moses and the Medieval scholar Moses Maimonides), Moses Mendelssohn was among the most influential philosophers of the Enlightenment era.
The Mendelssohn’s were not the only family to be so lucky. In England, the utilitarian philosopher James Mill provided a rigorous education to his son John Stuart, who would himself become one of the greatest philosophers in history. In a somewhat different field, there is the Amis family. Father Kingsley won the Somerset Maugham Award for the best novel by a young writer for his 1955 book Lucky Jim. In 1973, his son Martin won the same award for his first novel: The Rachel Papers. In politics, America has the Adams family, which produced two presidents and a number of great writers. And the siblings Henry and William James covered everything from literature to psychology to (perhaps less impressively) the paranormal. Maybe there is something in the genes.
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