Stuart Feder   Charles Ives: “My Father’s Song.” A Psychoanalytic Biography.
Yale University Press, 396 pages, $35

reviewed by Richard Brookhiser

Charles Ives: “My Father’s Song,” a study of the Connecticut Yankee who was part-genius, part-crank, and perhaps the non-popular American musician of the twentieth century most worth listening to, is subtitled “A Psychoanalytic Biography,” and the adjective makes one anxious. But Stuart Feder knows his music as well as he knows his psychology, and he writes with insight and, when facts are absent, a becoming modesty that make his book triumph over its style (long-winded) and its typeface (minute).

Charles Ives often said that the most important influence on his music was the example and encouragement of his father, George Ives,...

 
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