23. ilb 06. - 16.09.2023

Jérôme Ferrari

Jérôme Ferrari was born in Paris in 1968. He studied philosophy and has been working as a teacher ever since.

He has been appearing as a published author since the early 2000s. He rose to greater fame with his novel »Où j’ai laissé mon âme« [2010; Eng. »Where I Left My Soul«, 2012], which is set in the mid-1950s during the Algerian War and explores the question of how systems of violence affect victims and perpetrators and shape their existences. The main character, André Degorce, is a captain in the French army; a torturer who was once tortured himself in Buchenwald. Opposite him is Tahar, an Algerian independence fighter in the National Liberation Army.

Ferrari achieved his international breakthrough with »Le sermon sur la chute de Rome« [2012; Eng. »The Sermon on the Fall of Rome«, 2014], which was awarded the Prix Goncourt. When two former philosophy students open a bar in the Corsican mountains, »a microcosm full of life« [»FAZ«] emerges. His account is interspersed with philosophical reflections inspired by the religious teacher, Augustine, to whom the title of the novel alludes. The comparison between the fall of the Roman Empire and that of the village pub succeeds thanks to the author’s stylistic skills: according to DLF, »Ferrari’s linguistically highly accomplished prose is moving without ever slipping into sentimentality.« This was followed by »Le Princip« [2015; Eng. »The Principle«, 2016], a novel about the quantum physicist and Nobel Prize winner Werner Heisenberg, who remained in Germany after the Nazis seized power. There is immense literary wealth in quantum physics«, the author said in an interview with the »taz«. »There are intuitions, leaps, a form of creativity. This separation of natural science and literature, as it is commonly understood, seems wrong to me.« The novel »À Son Image« [Eng. »In His Own Image«, 2022] was published in 2018. Set once again in Corsica, the novel begins with a meeting between Antonia, a young photographer, and Dragan, who once fought as a Croatian mercenary in the Yugoslav Wars. On her way home, Antonia has a fatal accident; at her funeral, her godfather delivers the eulogy. Interspersed with detailed passages, the novel explores the history of Corsica as well as the nature of photography. According to the »NZZ«, »Ferrari’s novel circles its themes on different levels. They are questions of religion, politics, and sexuality, which intertwine and blend together in artistically winding sentences until one realizes how much they relate to each other.« The essay collection »Il se passe quelque chose« [2017; tr: Something is Happening] examines the politicization of fear after the attack on »Charlie Hebdo« and addresses the mistake that is silence when one has the privilege of being able to speak out.

Ferrari has been teaching philosophy at a lycée in Bastia, Corsica since 2015. He lives in Corsica.

Date: 2022