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Mountain Novel, Hitler Novel

D.A.N. Jones, 1 October 1987

The Spell 
by Hermann Broch, translated by H.F. Broch de Rothermann.
Deutsch, 391 pp., £11.95, May 1987, 0 233 98049 0
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Hermann BrochA Biography 
by Paul Michael Lützeler, translated by Janice Furness.
Quartet, 329 pp., £25, June 1987, 0 7043 2604 3
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... The first thing to notice about The Spell is that it is a good, readable story. Hermann Broch is considered ‘very hard to read’, wrote Martin Seymour-Smith in his useful guide, Novels and Novelists. ‘He used most of the Modernist technical devices available to him, but mainly stream of consciousness.’ Broch’s work has often attracted comments like that and they sound, to the general reader, like the kiss of death ...

Yellow Ribbons

Hal Foster: Kitsch in Bush’s America, 7 July 2005

... art but hardly ends there). Kitsch has attracted – that is to say, repelled – novelists from Hermann Broch to Milan Kundera and critics from Clement Greenberg to Saul Friedländer, all of whom took it up at periods when technologies of mass culture and mass politics were intensifying: Broch and Greenberg after the ...

Weimar in Partibus

Norman Stone, 1 July 1982

Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World 
by Elizabeth Young-Bruehl.
Yale, 563 pp., £12.95, May 1982, 0 300 02660 9
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Hannah Arendt and the Search for a New Political Philosophy 
by Bhikhu Parekh.
Macmillan, 198 pp., £20, October 1981, 0 333 30474 8
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... clan’ would have been a better translation – included Alma Mahler, the novelist Hermann Broch, whose essay, Hofmannsthal und seine Zeit, is the best short evocation of Fin-de-Siècle Vienna there is, and his mistress, the wife of the art-historian Meier-Graefe. There was a host of minor literary and artistic figures of the Weimar ...

The Colour of His Eyes

Michael Hofmann: Hugo von Hofmannsthal, 12 March 2009

The Whole Difference: Selected Writings of Hugo von Hofmannsthal 
edited by J.D. McClatchy.
Princeton, 502 pp., £24.95, October 2008, 978 0 691 12909 9
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... of three great swanky Bollingen-financed volumes – with prefaces by Eliot and introductions by Hermann Broch – that constitute Hofmannsthal’s apogee, and demonstrate how far he has declined since. I have to say, on the basis of my rereading of these and other works of Hofmannsthal’s (I don’t do opera), and a shocked and then greedy reading of ...

Kundera’s Man of Feeling

Michael Wood, 13 June 1991

by Milan Kundera, translated by Peter Kussi.
Faber, 387 pp., £14.99, May 1991, 0 571 14455 1
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Storm 2: New Writing from East and West 
edited by Joanna Labon.
93 pp., £5, April 1991, 9780009615139
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... which must be philosophical in some sense, but won’t call itself that. Kundera attributes to Hermann Broch ‘a new art of the specifically novelistic essay ... hypothetical, playful or ironic’ (Kundera’s italics). Tone is very important in this context – Kundera calls his own tone playful and ironic, like ...

Anyone can do collage

Hal Foster: Kurt Schwitters, 10 March 2022

Poisoned Abstraction: Kurt Schwitters between Revolution and Exile 
by Graham Bader.
Yale, 240 pp., £45, November 2021, 978 0 300 25708 3
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Myself and My Aims: Writings on Art and Criticism 
by Kurt Schwitters, edited by Megan R. Luke, translated by Timothy Grundy.
Chicago, 656 pp., £30, October 2020, 978 0 226 12939 6
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... the First World War, and many intellectuals grew anxious about the cultural effects of kitsch; Hermann Broch went so far as to declare it ‘the evil in the value-system of art’. Schwitters took a different approach – he exploited banalities. ‘The best way to battle the bad taste of formless and mindless literature is i-banality,’ he ...

No one hates him more

Joshua Cohen: Franzen on Kraus, 7 November 2013

The Kraus Project 
by Jonathan Franzen.
Fourth Estate, 318 pp., £18.99, October 2013, 978 0 00 751743 5
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... and even in German, are read in excerpted sentences and paragraphs: in aphorism. The works of Hermann Broch, Musil, Schnitzler and Zweig are intact because their preoccupation with Vienna was merely prologue, material for extrapolation. Kraus was too honest, or too impatient, to try his hand at fiction, and instead got directly at the facts and his ...

The crematorium is a zoo

Joshua Cohen: H.G. Adler, 3 March 2016

The Wall 
by H.G. Adler, translated by Peter Filkins.
Modern Library, 672 pp., £12.99, September 2015, 978 0 8129 8315 9
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... allegory, the force of repetition: Adler may have been introduced to these techniques by Kafka, Hermann Broch, Robert Musil or Alfred Döblin, but he mastered them by studying Goebbels and Eichmann and his clerks, whom Adorno called Schreibtischmörder, ‘desk-murderers’. The Nazi bureaucrats were responsible for two of the most malevolent ...

Canetti’s Later Work

J.P. Stern, 3 July 1986

The Conscience of Words 
by Elias Canetti, translated by Joachim Neugroschel.
Deutsch, 166 pp., £8.95, April 1986, 9780233979007
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The Human Province 
by Elias Canetti, translated by Joachim Neugroschel.
Deutsch, 281 pp., £9.85, October 1985, 0 233 97837 2
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... Auto-da-Fé is a book about life ‘lived in the head’ – it was Canetti’s friend, Hermann Broch, who saved him from the vulgarity of calling its hero ‘Kant’ – and abstraction is certainly not its dominant mode. But the book does pose the question by what margin it succumbs to the dangers it describes. In the morning paper of 15 July ...

Homer and Virgil and Broch

George Steiner, 12 July 1990

Oxford Readings in Vergil’s ‘Aeneid’ 
edited by S.J. Harrison.
Oxford, 488 pp., £45, April 1990, 0 19 814389 3
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... century – where ‘novels’ is too restrictive a term – can omit either Joyce’s Ulysses or Broch’s Death of Virgil, the one immersed in Homer, the other in the Georgics, Eclogues and Aeneid. If the turn of spirit in, say, Robert Graves and Saint-Jean Perse is radically Homeric, that in T.S. Eliot and Valéry is unmistakably Virgilian. The equations ...

Why should you be the only ones that sin?

Colm Tóibín, 5 September 1996

Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature 
by Anthony Heilbut.
Macmillan, 636 pp., £20, June 1996, 9780394556338
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Thomas Mann: A Biography 
by Ronald Hayman.
Bloomsbury, 672 pp., £20, March 1996, 0 7475 2531 5
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Thomas Mann: A Life 
by Donald Prater.
Oxford, 554 pp., £20, September 1995, 0 19 815861 0
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... love with Strindberg’s daughter Kerstin and the conductor Bruno Walter, Elisabeth flirting with Hermann Broch, Michael befriending the son of Hermann Hesse. The divisions within Germany during the First World War were reflected in the disagreements between Thomas and Heinrich. Thomas, Katia wrote, ‘for a time ...

All the girls said so

August Kleinzahler: John Berryman, 2 July 2015

The Dream Songs 
by John Berryman.
Farrar, Straus, 427 pp., £11.99, October 2014, 978 0 374 53455 4
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77 Dream Songs 
by John Berryman.
Farrar, Straus, 84 pp., £10, October 2014, 978 0 374 53452 3
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Berryman’s Sonnets 
by John Berryman.
Farrar, Straus, 127 pp., £10, October 2014, 978 0 374 53454 7
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The Heart Is Strange 
by John Berryman.
Farrar, Straus, 179 pp., £17.50, October 2014, 978 0 374 22108 9
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Poets in their Youth 
by Eileen Simpson.
Farrar, Straus, 274 pp., £11.50, October 2014, 978 0 374 23559 8
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... Blackmur, Allen Tate, the European émigrés at the Institute for Advanced Study – Thomas Mann, Hermann Broch, Erich Kahler, Erwin Panofsky, the mathematicians Hermann Weyl and John von Neumann, the physicists Albert Einstein and Wolfgang Pauli – and there were frequent visits from distinguished speakers such as ...

Say hello to Rodney

Peter Wollen: How art becomes kitsch, 17 February 2000

The Artificial Kingdom: A Treasury of the Kitsch Experience 
by Celeste Olalquiaga.
Bloomsbury, 321 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 7475 4535 9
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... the Modernist attracted to kitsch, whose writings she can use to construct a defence against Hermann Broch, Gillo Dorfles and Clement Greenberg, who abhorred it as the enemy of true modernity. The distinction she makes, extrapolating from Benjamin, between nostalgic and melancholic kitsch, enables her to defend at least the melancholic segment of ...

One blushes to admit it

D.J. Enright, 11 June 1992

The Heart of Europe: Essays on Literature and Ideology 
by J.P. Stern.
Blackwell, 415 pp., £45, April 1992, 0 631 15849 9
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... him in my esteem.’ The greatly admired Musil comes off little better, and even the revered Broch is found wanting. When Canetti drops names, they suffer bruising. But this isn’t to deny that Canetti’s novel, Auto da Fe, which Stern doesn’t appear to admire much, has its icy riches, its knife-edged images of what impresses as painful truth, a part ...

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