Beethoven spoke one day to a visitor about his Diabelli

Variations. “It stretches, this little trick of mine, from variation

to variation, and everything else, comparatively, plays over the surface

of it. The order, the form, the texture of my

Diabelli Variations will perhaps some day constitute for the initiated

a complete representation of it. Like a complex figure in

a Persian carpet. So it’s naturally the thing for the

critic to look for. It is the thing for the

critic to find. I call it a little trick but

that’s only my little modesty. It’s really an exquisite scheme.”


Paraphrases from the novella The Figure in the Carpet by Henry James.