Troubador Death of a Noble

Released: 01/06/2013

ISBN: 9781780885728

eISBN: 9781783069682

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Death of a Noble

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A sick old man determines the day of his death and the means by which he will end his ‘noble’ existence. On his last day, he tells the story of his ‘noble’ past, and of his philosophy as a noble.

The story is told in a nightmarish tone with the dramatic, clear and driving voice of a passionate protagonist who believes he has led an authentic life – one that is true to the person that he is: the life of a noble. He alone has given meaning to his existence and he disparages both religion and science. He lives and he dies; there is nothing more than this, and the time while he lives is his own – to make of it what he will – and he has ‘willed himself to power’. Yet has he been a protagonist within the story that he relates, or is he simply delusional?

The novel explores the Nietzsche ‘noble’ through the thoughts and experiences – real and imaginable – of the old man. It is an exploration of the theatre of the absurd, which is also the playground of the human species in a certain time and context. The time is the century after the passing away of the much acclaimed writer, Nietzsche, and the context is Europe: that continent of civility, modernism and post-modernism, developing technology, human diversity, industrialisation and individual liberty. But a continent also of nihilistic ambition and state repression, and of states with the greater capacity to mass destruct: a continent in almost perpetual conflict, and a civilisation increasingly uncertain of what meaning to give to life.

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S.J. Ashworth

I was born and educated in Preston. I like to think I have lived an interesting and varied life, having changed directions several times with career and countries resided in. In more recent times I have been self-employed and work in universities during the summer months teaching English.

I have a first degree in Sociology and an MA in European Studies. I also have teaching qualifications in EFL (DELTA and a post-graduate diploma.

Literary interest are eclectic, but I particularly like Camus, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Mailer, Arthur Miller, Beckett, Cees Nooteboom and Milan Kundera to name a few, and the philosophical writings of those regarded as existentialist - Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Sarte among others.

I have developed a keen interest, initially through teaching, on 'meaning' and 'subject' in classroom interactions. This interest has coalesced in recent years with literary reading and in the wider philosophical question of life's meaning, particularly in an age of uncertainty in belief, in an appreciation of the limitations of science, and in the context of observing post industrial society in which the individual performs a function and is rewarded by the success to which he or she conforms to the criteria of others, and when time passes by another's clock. Yet there remains the essential absurdity of life's toil: that we will one day die our own very subjective death. A greater appreciation of this should lead to a greater appreciation of one's own life, and to a more authentic existence.

'Death of a Noble' is the story of one such life and one such death. The novel is dark and intimidating, and interprets the Nietzschean 'noble' in the context of twentieth century Europe and beyond: a time of continued political and economic fissures, conflicts, wars, and not infrequent repression and genocide, coupled with individual's increasing need for material benefits to escape doubt, uncertainty and boredom.

The noble recounts his past on the day that he chooses his dramatic demise. Is he sane or psychotic? And how much can the story he relates be a mere abstraction of reality? The novel raises issues that drive to the core of human meaning.

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