A novel for young adults titled “Ludwig” is about Ludwig van Beethoven and is based on historical data. The story follows young Ludwig and the events relating to his first love, Jeanette d’Hontar, who he never forgot.
I was born an adequate period of time ago, so that I could observe life from many aspects. When creation called on me, I lost the right to waste time, because it was no longer mine.
The child, who has no intention of leaving me, creates for children. Perhaps, because I can play so nicely.
A rush of seriousness may sometimes interrupt play, so I try to get in line with adults, and to tell them something they actually know, but do not pay attention to.
The impression of creating, can be deceptive, so I am no longer sure whether I am giving or receiving. Whatever it may be, I’m thankful to each of my books for choosing precisely me to write it.
This one especially indebted me. Sublime, passionate and pathetic, it could choose its writer. There were better and younger and prettier. Taller, smarter, wiser.
It chose me.
Is there anything more sublime, than to be chosen – by the chosen one.
Is there a greater privilege than the chance to reach those who reached the stars.
Olivera Olja Jelkić
Someone finds salvation in music, someone in religion. Is it peace at the same time – it doesn’t have to mean. Perhaps it’s precisely unrest but, it’s your unrest, your destiny. Remember, wonders could be created out of peace and serenity! But you, Ludwig, are not created to live in peace and enjoy the idleness.
You are created to create. Be thankful to God, for giving you this unrest, the color of turquoise Fruška Gora’s agate, which will direct you at your path. Be happy and thankful, for the ecstasy, persistence and suffering.
Actually, be most thankful for the suffering. Suffering is our greatest friend, our best life companion, if you believe in yourself and if you are gazing at the stars, and yours is somewhere among the stars. Only your unrest and suffering can lead you there, where you belong.
Great men are mainly wolves. Lone wolves. Only a wolf can understand a wolf. Only a lone wolf can love loneliness. Only loneliness can open many doors, invisible from the outside.
It belongs to the one who can bear and love it. The one, who is, in loneliness, never alone. The others live in a pack. They should let them live like that. Those surely can’t be wolves.
Either you are a wolf, or a member of a pack. Two worlds. If you are already fortunate enough to be a wolf, pursue it till the end.
of the novel Ludvig
in Belgrade City Library
of the novel Ludvig
in Belgrade City Library
of the novel Ludvig
in Belgrade City Library
(About the novel for young adults “Ludwig” by Olivera Olja Jelkićin”Čigoja” edition, Belgrade, 2018)
Besides his timeless music, Ludwig van Beethoven was also famous for having a lot of women in his life. The young composer, who, as a teenager, had to entertain the representatives of high society to earn for his family’s survival, which his alcoholic father couldn’t provide for, was, at that time (the end of the eighteenth century), one of the most talented pupils of the great composer Joseph Haydn. During one of the concerts in his hometown Bonn, he meets beautiful, eighteen-year-old Jeanette d’Hontarfrom Cologne, who is staying with her cousin Eleanor Browning at that time. Teenage love rages with insurmountable force. Two young teenagers fall in love with each other, thinking there isn’t a force that could separate them. Of course, a well-known Cologne family, especially the father of young and beautiful Jeanette does not want to hear a word about the anonymous pianist and as fast as he can, he marries off his too-young daughter to a significantly older captain Carl von Grete and she moves with him to the center of European culture – to Vienna.
Olivera Jelkić, as a wise and skilled authoress, creates one rather rigid love triangle, which finds its literary and historical refuge precisely in Serbia, in the planes of Syrmia where Ludwig pursues his only love, since the captain, having found out that he is a potential threat to his marriage, asks for a transfer to a remote Schloss. Unhappy and disappointed Jeanette unwillingly goes with her husband, but as the authoress develops the story, love always finds a way to happen. Namely, young and infatuated Jeanette succeeds in sending a letter to her beloved Ludwig to invite him at the time when her husband goes away for a long leave.
Olivera Jelkić leads this beautiful novel precisely along the stray paths of Syrmia area, and it’s on the road story with a magnificently composed narrative, and with an original idea. “Ludwig” does not impress only with a story about a young composer, which people didn’t know about so far, and it’s connected with the Serbian area, but it is also a story about the love story which knows no boundaries. Yearning for each other, Jeanette and Ludwig believe till the last moment that they will overcome all the imposed obstacles and that they will go together, like the authoress says “to the end of the world”. However, the point of the novel is completely different and it is precisely its deepest probe, and that’s the rationale which warns us that every overwhelming emotion and dedication becomes bitter destiny fatal for young people’s life when reflected in the mirror of real life.
The young Ludwig van Beethoven’s adventure throughout Syrmia area is also an intersection of the life of poor people involved in agriculture at that time, but here he is introduced to a civilization he has never dreamed of. As a talented, but frail young man, he comes into contact with the tougher side of lifein Syrmia, which provides him with the experience which he couldn’t get in the urban environment of Vienna. Precisely that dialogue of civilizations is one of the prettiest attributes of this completely original novel by Olivera Jelkić. The continuous comparisons of simplicity against cunningness, benevolence against subterfuge are the aspects which make this novel an anthology, with the eternal struggle of good and evil becoming the mechanism which fuels the whole plot in this entire love story. However, the narration process in the novel “Ludwig” is not subject to the black and white representation of destiny of the two main characters, but also of the characters that push them together. A gallery of characters that Ludwig meets are dynamic characters determined by social turmoil and their social status. In that way, by going on an uncertain adventure in order to get to his loved one, he experiences life events he has never had, and meets the characters he never thought to have existed at all. By getting into accidents, some of which were real dangers, this young artist becomes aware that life is not only music and high society community. Life philosophy he faces, by meeting people of various aspects and from different social status, diametrically changes his world view so that he is a completely different man when he is finally reunited with his great love. In the end, this is the greatest value of Olivera Jelkić’s novel. This exceptionally talented authoress does not write the novel solely to tell a story. She creates characters that are complex and clearly incorporated into the eclecticism of the entire content. As an experienced authoress, she is aware that an elementary love story does not correspond with philosophical premises and that it is subordinate to a simple sequence of events. Olivera Jelkić knows very well that she is describing the character of one of the greatest composers in the world and, by building this complex character, she doesn’tmove away from the criteria of his relation toward the world through a kaleidoscope of music, and so she succeeds in turning his entire suffering and effort he makes to get to his beloved into an inspiration which the great composer mostly relies on in the earliest period of his creation.
Besides the main character, the novel “Ludwig” also has a current which represents a pure love ecstasy and that is young and fragile Jeanette. The young girl, despite being married at an early age of eighteen has the greatest wish, and it is to spend her whole life with the one that her heart chooses, but, like Ludwig, she isn’t aware of the reality she loves and lives in. Living in a society where status matters most, she becomes the victim of her parents’ calculations and experiences tragedy, which she wants to escape from with all her efforts. Of course, the reality is both, happiness and unhappiness, and the young Jeanette very early discovers the complexity of life, as the wife of a captain with high social status. Actually, with these two characters, the authoress runs, through the entire novel, two ways in which the young people face the complexity of life, with the shattering of illusions, with life’s turmoils, so that “Ludwig” is also a novel about human reflection in the turbulent water of life, where the ideal is only distant yearning, and real life is a boring time flow, the escape from which is only suffering with no results.
Besides these characters, “Ludwig” also possesses a gallery of episodic characters, which have very strong personalities and are exceptionally shaped, the characters which mark a turbulent period, the end of the eighteenth century, when that part of Serbia was within the Austro-Hungarian Empire ruled by Joseph II. The characters that young Ludwig meets in his adventure through Syrmia are different and have different social backgrounds and various occupations, but that’s a conglomerate of the period with the ruthlessness, which we unfortunately also witness in this time period, which is technologically much more advanced. And, in that way, OliveraOljaJelkić’snovel “Ludwig”is universal, complex and quite inspirational. Besides a very specific and original love story, this exceptional novel also inspires with its marked relation to one period and a brilliantly managed dialogue of civilizations and this is what marks its uniqueness and layering.
No one would assume that there would be a novel in Serbian literature about the experience of the great Ludwig van Beethoven with Serbian civilization and the Serbian way of life. However, civilization is contradictory and very odd, so stories like this one always happen. OliveraJelkić’s novel “Ludwig”witnesses civilization intertwining and controversy, but is also a witness to love fluid and her philosophical creation.That’s the reason why “Ludwig” is a great treasure of Serbian literature, which should be jealously guarded and honored.