Letter by Ludwig van Beethoven to his "Immortal Beloved"


This letter is one of the most famous documents in the legacy of the great German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827). Written in pencil, it is addressed to an unknown woman with whom Beethoven was apparently in a love relationship and to whom he refers at one point as his "Immortal Beloved." The dating is incomplete; there are merely notes stating "on the 6th of July" and "on the 7th of July," while information about the place where the letter was written and its year is missing. Scholars now say with certainty that Beethoven wrote the letter in 1812 in Teplitz, Bohemia (present-day Teplice, Czech Republic), when he went to the spas there at the beginning of a long stay for treatment and rehabilitation. It was there that Beethoven also had a number of personal encounters with the great German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The identity of the addressee remains unknown. Ever since the initial publication of the letter in Anton Schindler's Beethoven biography of 1840, numerous candidates have been and continue to be suggested, so that the hunt for the "Immortal Beloved" has now in itself become a separate field of Beethoven biographical research. No definitive identification of the woman has ever been made, however. The letter came to light in the papers left by Beethoven. It is therefore possible that he never sent it and that it never reached its intended addressee.

Last updated: July 8, 2015