When I was around fifteen years of age I decided I needed some impersonation that was better & bigger than me. Say, like Stendhal created Julien Sorel, or, indeed Jimmy Joyce created Stephen Dedalus, quite pretentiously. Five years later I learned from my Professor in Archeology that statues need to be larger than life, otherwise they are dwarfed by their surroundings. Likewise I thought when creating a character that he (no she, I apologize) must be larger than life, larger than my own pitiful life, but also have the qualities to create a myth around his figure. Someone like Narcissus, like Attis or like Actaion. A mythological person, larger than life, that died in contemplation of His Own Image, or because of trespassing the safety limits of the godesses Cybele and Artemis.
Also someone in love with himself, or someone being punished by declaring his love to unforbidden deities. I was thinking, like myself, that there was so immense a treasure of beauty outside and backwards in antiquity, that my hero, languorous like myself, would collapse under the weight of both his ambitions and beauty in general.
As shown already I had read Solger and Andrian: there was the name, there I found the tragic ending of being in love, of being in love with Beauty. Baudelaire added the ultimate and still modern touches.
Like myself this main character had a strong death wish. He thought that the only way to prove the free will was suicide. And so he did. He is a far better person than I am. Erwin just couldn’t bear the beauty of the world, of the world of art and of women, the ultimate object of beauty in Baudelairian sense. Therefore he drew the consequences and cut his life before it had reached its prime.
We never found his grave, but we know he died in Golino, on 5 october 1972.
So as a writer I had a problem here: how to go on with a main character that already was dead? It meant the two sequences of the trilogy would either find place before the fatal date of 5 october 1972, when Erwin was only twentytwo years of age; or I must perform a trick, like a prestigiator, to turn Erwin and everything about him into the figments of imagination of an old man, a composer, by the name of Vieuxtemps, in love with his former self or with the person he had always wished to be, forever young.
A life like Erwin’s I have always wished for myself (hoc erat in votis), but it didn’t work out for me. Well, my only consolation is that the puer/senex motive was my point of departure. So Vieuxtemps (and later on Erik-Jan Provenier) had to bear the burden of growing old in suffering and poverty. And that is what we call the tragic development!