An evening with John Armstrong
Italian reading by Claudia Müller.
Johann Wolfgang Goethe had a long, fulfilling life, engaged not only in the service of literature, but also with duties of government and public administration, and enriched by the comfort of love and friendship. Through John Armstrong’s novelistic account emerges a personality that fascinates us with its sheer versatility and vast range of interests and talents (from art and design to law, from the management of mines to the study of optics, botany and anatomy), and which to this day has much to teach us. This personality is the antithesis of the Romantic stereotype, which often presents poetic genius and creative inspiration as things associated with disorder and an inability to find inner harmony and resolve everyday problems. Read with this in mind, the story of Goethe’s life prompts us to confront our own disappointments and failures and see them as opportunities for us to mature; his life invites us to make the best of the conditions and occasions that are presented to us by the imperfect world we live in, rather than to become self-paralysed by sterile and resentful feelings.
The English writer and philosopher John Armstrong has lived in Australia since 2011, where he is a researcher at the University of Melbourne. With Guanda he has also published translations of Conditions of Love (2002) and The Secret Power of Beauty (2007).