Friedrich Christian Delius was born in Rome in 1943 and grew up in Central Germany. He did his doctoral thesis in German studies in 1970 and subsequently worked as book editor. Today he divides his time between the Italian capital and Berlin. Some of his best-known works are Ribbeck’s Pears (1991), The Sunday I Became World Champion (1994), The Walk from Rostock to Syracuse (1995), My Year as a Murderer (2004) and Portrait of Mother as a Young Woman (2006). Delius has won numerous awards, most recently the German Critics’ Prize, the Joseph Breitbach Prize and the Georg Büchner Prize.
THE FUTURE OF BEAUTY
On 1 May 1966, a young German from the Hessian countryside finds himself in a New York jazz club. Albert Ayler, the famous saxophonist is playing. Alienated, insulted yet inspired by the most scandalous music of its time, the young man hears sounds that seem to reflect the furious chaos of the times: The Kennedy assassination, the Vietnam War, stock exchange fluctuations, black liberation struggles and student protests are all intertwined with the wild music.
The more he absorbs it, the closer the would-be poet edges towards finding himself, revealing the suppressed pain of a paternal conflict sparked by another jazz concert and the embarrassingly adolescent beginnings of his poetry. Stunned by Ayler’s improvisational raptures, the young man is subsumed in a clairvoyant whirlwind of associations and begins to understand the revolutionary energy of awakening and anger. Through the music he senses physically, corporeally, how destruction and dissolution can engender the beginning of all that is beautiful and how art can become a form of salvation.
This autobiographical work conjures a dazzling vision of the spirit of optimism that imbued an entire era.