In undertaking his 1919––21 revision of Otto Jahn's monumental W. A. Mozart, Hermann Abert argued the case for a complete overhaul of that book's allegedly outmoded methodology and content; and in keeping with the purportedly sweeping extent of his revision, Abert represented himself, confusingly, as both author and editor of the new edition. The stage was thus set for general acceptance of an erroneous notion that Abert had all but completely dismantled Jahn's book and erected a new one in its place. Reinforcing this persisting yet patently false impression, the recently published English edition, prepared by Cliff Eisen and translated by Stewart Spencer, omits the original author's name altogether from the title page, effectively completing the unjustified transfer of authorship from Jahn to Abert——unjustified in that despite Abert's claims of drastic revision, unacknowledged correspondences with the original are virtually ubiquitous. Comparison of pre- and post-Abert editions reveals the previously unrecognized extent of the later scholar's reliance on his predecessor. In addition to retaining Jahn's many-layered, elegant structure for the book, Abert has lifted many passages almost verbatim; and there are numerous others where he has merely rephrased Jahn's ideas without significantly altering the original content. Paradoxically, given Abert's wholesale expropriations, we may regard his celebrated endeavor to modernize Jahn as evidence for the enduring vitality of Jahn's extraordinary accomplishment.
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