From 1821 until his death, Schubert compiled or specially composed for publication 42 song sets, yet during his own lifetime, and until now, their integrity and importance as sets have been virtually ignored. In this book, Michael Hall asserts that these songs sets are not arbitrary collections, as so often assumed, but highly integrated works in their own right. Approaching these songs as sets the book throws light on Schubert's largely undiscussed intellectual preoccupations. They reveal that he was au fait with most of the philosophical concerns of his time, especially those which touched on Romanticism. But although the sets reflect Romanticism in their topics, Hall maintains that they are the epitome of classical balance. In encouraging students and performers to approach these songs as sets, this study aims to alter perceptions of this important repertory.