MELBOURNE, FLA. — Longtime faculty member in Florida Tech’s Department of Humanities and Communication, Robert Shearer, Ph.D., has self-published the novel,
“The Beethoven Years.” The work of fiction is about a schizophrenic street person to whom God speaks in musical code through electrical outlets, and who is
visited by a Martian who lectures him on music and French grammar, among other subjects. The man takes himself to be Beethoven, suffering the delusion of
having found his “Immortal Beloved” when he falls in love with the wife in the couple who run the halfway house where he stays.
The book, said Shearer, “is philosophical, theological, blasphemous, reverent, irreverent, bawdy, erudite and, in places, creatively obscene.” He adds that
the work “manifests a wide-ranging postmodern aesthetic, with the rants and ravings of the mentally ill.” Because of that, he said he heeded the advice
given to an apparently mad Hamlet to put his “discourse into some frame,” and provided a plot involving a supposed letter of Beethoven’s.
Additionally, he describes the book as offering a discussion of the conflict between 19th Century compositional practices and the 20th century’s embrace of
atonality and unresolved dissonance. “But not presented in a dry and academic manner.”
Shearer chose self-publishing after undergoing the travails of attempting to publish traditionally as an unknown novelist. “I decided to go with
self-publishing and send copies to critics in the hope that a decent review would take the novel beyond my initial endeavor. I’ve attempted an art novel,
what I think is best described as poetry with a plot. Just having it out there is enough.”
The book was published through iUniverse Inc. and Barnes and Noble. For more information iUniverse can be reached at 1-800-288-4677 or at iUniverse.com,
and Barnes and Noble can be accessed at barnesandnoble.com.