Published on Franz Liszt Group, on May 12, 2021. If you want to know how the Story Behind series started, I give details in “Story Behind” Series #1″.
Truth is a great flirt.
Hello, everybody 🙂 Here are the stories behind the quote and the picture.
The quote first. It is taken a bit out of its original context. It can be found in a letter Liszt wrote to Olga von Meyendorff on May 5, 1882, in Brussels. Olga just sent him the text of a speech given at the Académie Française by Joseph Ernest Renan, a French scholar specialized in Semitic languages, civilizations, religion, philosophy, and politics. As Liszt was very interested in anything related to politics, and in religion too of course, he often asked his friends to send him any text that could be of interest to him. In the case of Renan’s text, he didn’t like it at all. He wrote Meyendorff about it:
“Thank you for the Academy speech of Renan, “the unctuous skeptic.” He proves with elegance that Truth is a great flirt, and that it rather enjoys respectable absurdities.”
Now, the picture. I already talked about the photographer in an earlier “story behind” post. This picture was taken in 1885 by Louis Held, who came in 1884 and 1885 in Weimar to photography Liszt and his students. This one represents Liszt accompanying the violinist Arma Senkrah. Interesting fact about this violinist: her real name was Anna Harkness; she wanted to take a pseudonym as a performer, so she wrote her name backward, and voilà. She was popular within the Liszt circle. Hans von Bülow, who liked to play with words and letters, once signed an autograph to her as “Snah nov Wolub” 🙂