Read The Sleepwalkers: A Trilogy by Hermann Broch Willa Muir Edwin Muir Hannah Arendt Online


With his epic trilogy, The Sleepwalkers, Hermann Broch established himself as one of the great innovators of modern literature, a visionary writer-philosopher the equal of James Joyce, Thomas Mann, or Robert Musil. Even as he grounded his narratives in the intimate daily life of Germany, Broch was identifying the oceanic changes that would shortly sweep that life into theWith his epic trilogy, The Sleepwalkers, Hermann Broch established himself as one of the great innovators of modern literature, a visionary writer-philosopher the equal of James Joyce, Thomas Mann, or Robert Musil. Even as he grounded his narratives in the intimate daily life of Germany, Broch was identifying the oceanic changes that would shortly sweep that life into the abyss.   Whether he is writing about a neurotic army officer (The Romantic), a disgruntled bookkeeper and would-be assassin (The Anarchist), or an opportunistic war-deserter (The Realist), Broch immerses himself in the twists of his characters' psyches, and at the same time soars above them, to produce a prophetic portrait of a world tormented by its loss of faith, morals, and reason....

Title : The Sleepwalkers: A Trilogy
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ISBN : 9780448001753
Format Type : Audio Book
Number of Pages : 648 Pages
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The Sleepwalkers: A Trilogy Reviews

  • Szplug
    2019-04-08 10:31

    Hermann Broch is another of those early twentieth century Austro-Hungarian writers whose works I have discovered and devoured over the past decade. Though not as famous as Franz Kafka and Robert Musil, his work is right up there with them in its caliber and depth. His magnum opus was the stunning hallucinatory prose poem The Death of Virgil, but The Sleepwalkers—more in the vein of Musil's A Man Without Qualities—is another extraordinary work of art.German language novels from the dawn of the modern age are not entertaining beach reads, and several people I have recommended this book to found it dreadfully boring and impossible to finish. To others—myself included—these works, which plumb the depths to explore the societal changes that were forming themselves at the time, are fascinating and hard to put down. The translation is by the Muirs, of Kafka fame, who render here another superb and elegant version for those of us who cannot, sadly, read the book in its native tongue.The novel is divided into three parts, each exploring an aspect of the struggles of different classes and people in Germany to deal with the flux in morals, mammon and modernity as the twentieth century was dawning and the old world was passing on. The first part, The Romantic, details the personal conflicts of a Prussian nobleman, Von Pasenow, as he tries to avoid the dangerous and seductive lures of liberal society and maintain the faith and tradition of the Junkers. The second book, The Anarchist, moves us to the Rhineland, where we follow the peregrinations of Esch up and down the great river, seeking better work and seething against the perceived class war in Germany, and the corruption and ethical laxity of the rich capitalists who have risen to economic power. The third part, The Realist, brings us Von Pasenow and Esch, each older and scarred, in a small town in the Eifel Highlands in Germany, bordering Belgium, during the First World War. They are beset by Huguenau, an Alsatian deserter from the German Army and a thoroughly modern businessman, devoid of scruples or morals, determined to live his life using reason and reason alone. Broch is lamenting the turn that German and Austrian society was taking. As the novel's denoument approaches, Von Pasenow and Esch rise to the occasion—even the old anarchist is moved by his moral compass towards heroism, whilst Huguenau, looking out for number one from dawn till dusk, can only see in heroism the irrational lure of suicide. Hueguenau survives the war—indeed, comes out of it a wealthy man; but what, actually, has he won? There is an act of injustice, a remorseless betrayal by the Alsatian, that will have any red-blooded reader seething—but Broch offers no pat endings or comforting answers to his questions. As he posits:The great question remains: how can an individual whose ideas have been genuinely directed towards other aims understand and accommodate himself to the implications and reality of dying?This is not a book of action or important events: it is a slow, detailed study of its characters, their milieu, and their way of dealing with the massive changes coursing through Germany and Europe. It probes and prods, and moves at a leisured pace. Broch is a brilliant writer, and he has produced a brilliant book.When desire and aims meet and merge, when dreams begin to foreshadow the great moments and crises of life, the road narrows then into darker gorges, and the prophetic dream of death enshrouds the man who has hitherto walked dreaming in sleep...The man who from afar off yearns for his wife or merely for the home of his childhood has begun his sleepwalking.

  • Michael
    2019-03-31 15:42

    I find the compartments that this trilogy is supposed to be fit into–The Romantic, The Anarchist, and The Realist–less worthy of mention than the inner insanity that Broch capably delineates through his three protagonists–Pasenow, Esch, and Huguenau. For me, the human commentary will always take precedence over the historical or social. It is the juxtaposition of that inner insanity with the yielded outer perspective, the surface that rest of the world is given to perceive, that makes one wonder whether that surface is also all that the proprietor of that inner insanity perceives–as if by some sleight we all blind ourselves to all but that perfectly normal, perfectly human outer shell. That is to say, it is that Broch manages this polarity most capably (and most blatantly with the Pasenow section) by which one is almost tempted to syllogize: if people can be so delusional, neurotic, disposed to habit and whim, and yet appear to be normal, and if all people I see in my world appear more or less likewise normally, then they too might be so ruled by delusion, habit and neuroses. From which it is a small step to ask, ‘Might not I be counted among them?’I’ll say it is a good book that can get you into this conversation with yourself. The Sleepwalkers is not just a good book. It is another one of those great books whose greatness is perhaps a little defined, perhaps a little tainted by its ability to make the reader aware of how great it could (I’ll stop short of saying should–as everyone should) be and thus, unavoidably, how great it is not. In my opinion it suffers from a lack of cohesion around its major themes–most major of which is the the disintegration (meaning division or perversion more than destruction) of values. Experimentation of style–mostly in book III–seems to be the primary means of injecting this philosophy, and this, for being a poor way of integrating the theme, I would say makes a clever meta-comment on the theme (disintegration) itself, that is I would say, if something in the text could lead me to believe that it was done intentionally for this purpose rather than as the path of lesser resistance. Rather than belaboring the painstaking way through the integration of his philosophy into the narrative, Broch seems content to grab the crutches and go. As a result, the style of the philosophical sections and that of the narrative itself veer sharply from one another. The venn diagram of readers who can stomach the academic, and yet not all that rigorous, philosophical jargon and those who would tolerate the too often too slow, too often too divergent plot developments, flaunts little overlap. Besides essay, styles of verse and dramatic scene handicap the overall flow and presentation. A little play in which the author seems content to let his characters finish each other’s sentences was particularly nauseating.But onto the good: Reading the Pasenow and Esch sections one could almost conclude that adulthood is a plague in which giant children have had the misfortune of taking themselves seriously. Pasenow, at least, has had the luck to have more than a passing acquaintance with the sage in sheep’s clothing, Bertrand–who single handedly evokes comparisons to Musil’s Ulrich (i.e. the ever wise man without qualities). Esch’s association with the same Bertrand is teasingly slight and by the same token his trials comparatively boring. At the same time the Esch section is an impressive delineation of the caprice that shape a man’s life–a concatenation of stimuli and reactionary whim that serve as an explication of his illusory self-control.All three sections impressively end with its protagonist–Pasenow and Esch in defeat and Huguenau in a kind of triumph–settling into an empty prescription of salvation: “Joachim (Pasenow) was silent; it was with reluctance that he took up this thought that hung cold and bewildering between them: “He is remote…he thrusts us all away, for God wills us to be solitary.” “He does, indeed,” said Elizabeth, and it was not to be determined whether she had referred to God or Bertrand; but that ceased to matter, since the solitude prescribed for her and Joachim now begun to encompass them, and froze the room, in spite of its intimate elegance, into a more complete and dreadful immobility; as they sat motionless, both of them, it seemed as if the room widened around them; as the walls receded the air seemed to grow colder and thinner, so thin that it could barely carry a voice. And although everything was tranced in immobility, yet the chairs, the piano, on whose black-lacquered surface the wreath of gas-jets was still reflected, seemed no longer in their usual places, but infinitely remote, and even the golden dragons and butterflies on the black Chinese screen in the corner had flitted away as if drawn after the receding walls, which now looked as if hung with black curtains. The gas-lights hissed with a faint, malicious susurration, and except for their infinitesimal mechanical vivacity, that jetted fleeringly from obscenely open small slits, all life was extinguished.”Such is the state of things as Pasenow and Elizabeth are engaged. While the partnership between Esch and Mother Hentjen ends with the line:“He still sometimes beat her, but less and less and finally not at all.”As if we are to read, ‘until death do they part,’ in that “finally”.And even if it is the most flawed section, the last seems quite right in ending contrastingly. Huguenau accomplishes about everything he tries for, for which we can be sure he is just as miserable as those who went before him. Not a book for the Optimist’s Club. Alas there is no Lemon Law for our dreams.

  • Vit Babenco
    2019-04-10 13:53

    There are some books that are not much read but nonetheless they serve as a kind of Bethlehem star for the whole literary movements and The Sleepwalkers is one of those.“Driven by that extraordinary oppression which falls on every human being when, childhood over, he begins to divine that he is fated to go on in isolation and unaided towards his own death; driven by this extraordinary oppression, which may with justice be called a fear of God, man looks round him for a companion hand in hand with whom he may tread the road to the dark portal…”The novel is full of fresh ideas and it institutes a new approach to reality: the beautiful romanticism of the old is dying (The Romantic), the dream of the purifying power of anarchy is fruitless and morbid (The Anarchist), and the only thing that remains is the eerie, roily and bleak actuality (The Realist).

  • Torsten
    2019-04-14 15:48

    I - ფონ პაზენოვი - რომანტიკა II - ეში - ანარქია III - ჰუგუენაუ - საქმოსნობა სარჩევის გადახედვისთანავე გამიჩნდა აზრი, რომ საქმე თავისებურად ნიცშეანურ წიგნთან გვქონდა და ეს ხედვა ბოლოს უფრო განმიმტკიცდა, ოღონდ ერთი გამონაკლისით. ფონ პაზენოვი აქლემის მდგომარეობას ასახავს. ტრადიცია, სამხედრო უნიფორმა, რომელიც მისთვის ჯავშანია და იცავს, უბრალო, მაგრამ მტკიცე რელიგიური ხედვა, რომელიც მასში თანდათან უფრო ღრმავდება. მას ჰქონდა შანსი გათავისუფლების, მაგრამ ვერ ან არ გამოიყენა. თავისუფლებას, მისგან გამოწვეულ ტრაგიზმს ამ წიგნში ბერტრანდი განასახიერებს. იგი იზიდავს და ამავდროულად აშინებს კიდეც ფონ პაზენოვს. მასში ხედავს რაღაც დესტრუქციულს, მშვიდი, ტრადიციული ყოფის დამანგრეველს. ბერტრანდი მარცხდება, თავს იკლავს. თუმცა ეს მერე... ეში ანარქიას წარმოადგენს. იგი ლომია, ქაოსი, გაურკვევლობა, მრისხანება. იქცევა ისე, როგორც სურს, იქამდე ვიდრე ერთგვარი მოთვინიერება არ ხდება . მაგრამ აქ ვერსად ვნახავთ ბავშვს. რომანტიზმის ნგრევამ, ანარქიის უუნარობამ სხვა საფეხურზე გადანაცვლებისა და პირველმა მსოფლიო ომმა, შვა არა ზეკაცი, არამედ უკანასკნელი ადამიანი, საშუალო ადამიანი, საქმოსანი - ჰუგუენაუ. იგი არც გერმანელია, არც ფრანგია, არც კომუნისტია, არც ანარქისტი და ამავდროულად ყველა და ყველაფერია. დეზერტირი, გაზეთის გამომცემელი და ა.შ. მას აქვს თავისი ღირებულებები, კომერციული სამართალი.ამ სამი პიროვნების გზები იკვეთება და მათ ფონზე ბროხი საოცარი ოსტატობით აღწერს იმას, რომ ხსნა აღარ არსებობს, რომ "მე" გადაგდებულია და არაფერი ეშველება, რომ ახლა ვცხოვრობთ ეპოქაში, სადაც ფილოსოფოსობა უსაზრისოა, ხოლო ჰუგუენაუს მოდგმა "შეუმუსრავია, ვით მოდგმა მიწის რწყილისა".

  • Rebecca McNutt
    2019-04-24 14:40

    With brilliant characters and scenes that seem to fly right from the pages, The Sleepwalkers is a very original and interesting book.

  • Nick
    2019-04-08 13:28

    Hermann Broch was evidently a writer for the literary philosophers or philosophical literati of Central Europe. Hannah Arendt wrote an introduction for the translation I read, and Milan Kundera wrote an essay about him. "The Sleepwalkers" takes on the fragmentation of German culture between 1888 and 1918, with an middle act in 1903. The period is suspiciously close to the period of modern German monarchy, engineered by Bismarck in 1881 and dismantled by revolution in 1918 (Broch wrote the book between 1928 and 1932). Act I, in 1888, narrates in the literary style of the late 19th century, the tribulations of the military aristocrat Joachim von Pasenow who grapples with his dictatorial father, his manipulative friend Bertrand, and his superior older brother, conveniently dead in battle. It is so 19th century that it has the feel of the misogyny of Tolstoy's shorter works--how the lusty peasant girl (in von Pasenow's case a Czech music hall girl) lures the hero away from the decidedly cooler charms of his eligible female peers. Act II belongs to the sneaky August Esch, who is that most incredible of all things, an accountant with revolutionary leanings. All the talk comes to nothing; the most revolutionary things he does are to walk out on unsatisfactory jobs, start a "theater" that features a knife-throwing act, and seduce his affianced landlady. Act III takes place as the defeated German monarchy descends into chaos, uniting von Pasenow, now a comfortable bourgeois, and Esch, who runs a newspaper, as they confront someone even less appealing, the murderous, larcenous deserter Hugeneau, who bests both of them. In the third section, Broch flaunts his experimental side as a contemporary of Joyce, Faulkner, Musil and others--Hugeneau's story alternates with the stories of yet another character (at least this time a woman), poetry about a Salvation Army girl, and dreary essays on the decline of values. If "Ulysses" and "The Sound and the Fury", for all their self-conscious virtuosity, show what the multi-voiced, multi-genre novel can achieve, Broch in "The Sleepwalkers" demonstrates its limits.

  • GloriaA
    2019-03-31 12:46

    I sonnambuli, una vera e propria pietra miliare nell’ambito della letteratura europea di inizio secolo. Poco conosciuto al grande pubblico italiano, è un romanzo citato, ammirato, amato da diversi scrittori contemporanei, ma spazzato via dalla Storia, e che ora viene riproposto da Mimesis con una prefazione di Milan Kundera e una postfazione di Carlos Fuentes( e dico poco). Trilogia ambiziosissima, definita dall’autore stesso “romanzo gnoseologico”, cioè “letteratura che si propone come mezzo di conoscenza della realtà”. Letteratura che diviene così “impazienza di conoscere”, di penetrare, comprendere, interpretare e rappresentare i problemi e le domande che la scienza e la filosofia hanno disertato, ma che da sempre inseguono l’uomo: come il senso della vita e della morte, la crisi dei sistemi di valore, il nichilismo,i totalitarismi. (Liberamente attinto da un prezioso articolo di Magris)” In un mondo senza più unità né etica né filosofica né scientifica e frazionato in migliaia di specializzazioni, il romanzo di Broch ha l’ambizione di essere “specchio di tutte le immagini del mondo”.” L’ultimo avamposto per cogliere la vita umana nella sua totalità.” (Liberamente copiato dalla copertina ripiegata del terzo volume)Assillato dal Wert- Vakuum (vuoto di valori) che sta disgregando un mondo, Broch parte da una domanda:in che misura e in che modo lo “stile” di vita di un’epoca influenza la realtà delle persone? E quanto esse ne hanno consapevolezza?Tre libri autonomi, ma collegati tra loro. Tre date storiche che segnano simbolicamente il decadere e il dissolversi di tre “stili” di vita, e che più precisamente corrispondono all’inizio, all’apogeo e alla fine dell’impero guglielmino, ognuna con il suo simbolico protagonista che ben rappresenta la relativa crisi di valori, adeguatamente circondato da figure secondarie funzionali alla rappresentazioni di valori e pensieri contrapposti, positivi o negativi che siano, tutte immancabilmente vittime di sonnambulismo, ovvero ignare, inconsapevoli, confuse, incapaci di riconoscere il vuoto, il disfacimento morale in cui sono immerse.” Vittime inconsapevoli di falsi sistemi ideologici”, sonnambuli che tentennano nelle tenebre dei loro simulacri. (Quanto era avanti quest’uomo!) 1888 – Pasenow o il Romanticismo è il primo libro, nonché primo simbolico quadro storico nel quale incontriamo l’aristocratico Joachim von Pasenow, giovane ufficiale prussiano, combattuto fra il rimanere ancorato alle certezze dei valori codificati della sua divisa militare - che iniziano a sgretolarsi, a perdere solidità senza che lui se ne avveda, sonnambulo, appunto - e l’entrare nei panni borghesi di proprietario terriero e sposo di una donna idealizzata a Madonna. Scelta sofferta e incompresa, raggiunta dopo l’”amore” conflittuale con una prostituta, fonte di delizie erotiche infinite sospese nel tempo, e dopo la conclusione dell’altrettanto conflittuale rapporto con l’amico Bertrand, “uomo razionale”, che lascia la carriera militare per dedicarsi con successo al commercio. 1903 – Esch o l’Anarchia – secondo libro, secondo quadro simbolico – Il protagonista è Esch un giovane contabile irascibile alla confusa, vana, scombinata, contraddittoria ricerca di valori, d’ideali per “stordire l’angoscia” che lo attanaglia. Non sa nemmeno lui cosa cerca. Sonnambulo, si aggira fra “rozzi desideri che nascondono la nostalgia dell’anima prigioniera, che anela al riscatto della solitudine.” Fra vari tentativi di realizzarsi nel lavoro; fra il sacrificio che redime e che lo ossessiona. Prefigurando fughe in America a realizzare il sogno di un mondo nuovo e finendo fra le braccia mature e solide della tenutaria di una locanda, l’unica che( senza una ragione né un motivo) sembra acquietare la sua frenetica ricerca, la sua instabilità interiore. Vuole mettere ordine nell’anarchia del mondo il piccolo irascibile Esch, e addirittura contempla l’assassinio come mezzo per raggiungere il fine.1918 – Huguenau o il Realismo – In questo terzo quadro simbolico ritroviamo, in una piccola cittadina della Renania, Pasenow capo del presidio militare e Esch proprietario di una piccola testata giornalistica locale. Ai due che paiono accomunati dal desiderio di una risposta mistica che dia senso unitario al disfacimento generale, e che rappresentano lo spirito religioso dell’autore, si contrappone il disertore Huguenau, faccendiere senza scrupoli, arrivista e truffatore, capace dei gesti più spregevoli pur di raggiungere i propri obiettivi materialistici.E’ in questo terzo libro che l’architettura polifonica e polistorica voluta e studiata accuratamente da Broch si esplica in diverse forme stilistiche – poesia, reportage, saggio, novella - per rappresentare/rispecchiare il dilagante procedere dell’irrazionale, spogliato delle filosofie dell’universo.Un libro che mi ha fatto studiare e riflettere parecchio, con bei momenti lirici e sfuggenti rivisitazioni filosofiche che hanno messo a dura prova i miei rugginosi ingranaggi mentali. L’uomo confuso e destrutturato confonde con le sue confusioni anche il lettore, che si trova anch’egli spesso disorientato, come un sonnambulo risvegliato bruscamente che non capisce bene dov’è. Sensazione non proprio piacevole, che disorienta anche nel giudizio.Invece del misticismo religioso anelante al messia che conclude e circonfonde di baluginante speranza divina il futuro, preferisco chiudere con una citazione dal secondo libro:“Oh, che confusione è mai la vita, incompresa dagli avidi, a mala pena compresa dagli altri, eppure intuita dalla musica, simbolo sonoro di tutto il pensiero che abolisce il tempo per custodirlo in ogni battuta, e abolisce la morte, perché si rinnovelli nel suono!”

  • Cooper Renner
    2019-03-28 15:51

    Closer to 3.5 stars. I can't claim to have read every word of this lengthy three-part novel, but certainly I read almost all of it. In the third and longest section, Broch interweaves a series of chapters which are at heart theoretical philosophical discussions--the kind of thing that some readers love and which leaves me absolutely unable to keep my eyes on the page. Otherwise, book 3 is far and away the most direct and interesting part of the novel, a careful symphony of characters and lives reflecting in some way the concept of people sleepwalking through the world. The first two books are heavy going, "realistic" narratives completely laden down with internalized explications and motivations: again, something that many readers love, but which impresses me as woefully overdone. Allegedly much (all?) of this is parody of 19th century naturalism, but if so, the parody is much too long. Even so, what is good here is very very good indeed. Overwrought (books 1 and 2) or lean (book 3), these are smart investigations of life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the German-speaking world.

  • Temz
    2019-04-11 13:36

    ,,Сомнамбулите‘‘ на Херман Брох ил преждевременното ми екстрадиране към безкрайносттаКазват, че каквото сам си направиш, никой друг не може да ти го направи. И (за пръв път от много време) при последващ случай ще гласувам доверие на хората, макар и да не ми се случва често. Преди една седмица по време на приятелска вечер с Милена от ,,Жанет 45‘‘ и Христо просто откраднах една книга. Точно това се случи – подадена от Милена към Христо, ,,Сомнамбулите‘‘ на Херман Брох, с адски добре издържана корица, просто се оказа в моите невръстни 21-годишни длани. „Искам, искам, искам‘‘ и обещанието – дадено. Но сега, точно 5 минути след като съм затворила последната страница, вероятно наистина приличам на човек, ударен с тухла по главата. Състоянието ми варира от лека отнесеност, пролетна замечтаност, до абсолютна обърканост и мрак. Толкова много искам да споделя, а вероятно ще успея да кажа толкова малко. Директно ще си призная – книга от този ранг не съм подхващала от „Братя Карамазови“ насам. Но с изказването си съвсем не искам да ви уплаша, даже напротив. Предизвиквам ви!Предизвиквам ви да преживеете това, което аз преживях при сблъсъка ми или по-скоро по пътя ми редом с австрийски писател. Напред към сомнамбулството. Напред към междинността на две епохи, на иреалното и свръхрационалното. ‎''...сомнамбулството на безкрайността я е взело във властта си и вече никога няма да я пусне.'' Цикълът от три взаимосвързани романа (макар че за връзката между тях човек разбира едва при прочит на третата част) представлява своебразно пътуване от 1888-а, през 1903-а, до 1918-а, а именно през онези периоди, в които се осъществява преходът от отшумяващия романтизъм в края на XIX век към ,,деловитостта‘‘ на съвременната епоха. Разпадането на старата ценностна система и подмяната й с нова се загатва още в заглавията на трите части – ,,1888. Пазенов, или Романтиката‘‘, ,,1903. Еш, или Анархията‘‘, ,,1918. Хюгуно, или Деловитостта‘‘. Ще ви спестя анализите в стил съчинение разсъждение, но ще ви подготвя за огромен шок. Такава богата палитра от политически, исторически ,естетически и философски познания може да бъде намерена в малко автори. При опитите за сравнение неуморно се люлеех между Т.Ман, Х. Л. Борхес и Дж. Джойс. Само че тази творба е доста далеч от нещо познато. Първата част е рамкирана като ‚,безобидно повествование‘‘, темпото е равномерно и плавно. Хаосът започва с част втора, когато наистина се потъва в дебрите на непознатия мрак, на ираеалното, на усещането за промяна, на отприщването на един луд ритъм, на една динамика на човекопреобразяване, която аз едва ли ще мога да ви предам максимално реалистично. При третата част есеистичните моменти безкомпромисно хвърлят читателя в бездната на свободата от ценности през новата епоха. Главите, обобщаващи разпадането на ценностите, въвеждат в света на познанието на писателя. Дообесняват, представляват истинско философско удоволствие, оставящо усещането ,че в света не съществуват изолирани явления. Протагонистите Пазенов, Еш, Хюгуно, както и пасивно присъстващият през цялото време Бертранд са своебразен отговор на въпросите, стоящи отвъд пределите на науката. Като олицетворение на поетическото те са носители на тази човешка нетърпеливост на познанието, на изпреварването на рационалното, на прокарване на път чрез емоционалното и постепенното ново очовечаване на обезчовеченото човечество (и настана тафтологията :D ).Няма да ви лъжа, книгата на моменти дотяга, действието се провлачва, не е спестен немският похват на писане в стил изречение, разпростряно на 10 реда (тук е моментът да изкажа своите почитания към преводача Любомир Илиев, поел тази нелека задача). Но! Аз наистина ви предизвиквам да бъдете сомнамбули. Предизвиквам ви да достигнете третата част, при което буквално ще искате да останете при това познание, да стоите и да слушате сънищата си. И хем ще го искате, хем няма да имате търпение да се свърши. Не мога да рекламирам, мога само да изразя искреното си объркване и усещане за стремеж след тази книга да прочета още, да знам повече, защото явно наистина нищо не знам. Смесицата от философия, поезия, естетика и история е стряскаща, но надграждаща. Надскочи ме и ми остави усещането, че...трудно ме побира този свят.А и той във мен не се събира. Ще си остана (спящо)будна, защото ,,никоя цел не носи нищо, остава само безкрайността‘‘. А човешкият живот е кратък. Така че...направете си го интересен. Предизвиквам ви.

  • James
    2019-03-24 17:30

    This is the epitome of the "philosophical" novel. In the novel Broch explains the decline of values beginning with Joachim von Pasenow's hesitation between a lower-class mistress and a noble fiance in the first part. The story ends in Joachim's wedding night when both he and Elisabeth are afraid of a possible physical act of love and they finally find deliverance in his falling asleep.Pasenow is sure of his virtues and their meaning. Esch too knows about such virtues as justice or fidelity but ignores their substance; that is why he can be both faithful and unfaithful, and can think of murder or denunciation to find their sense.Amoral Huguenau's only criterion is profit and he follows this maxim in all his actions. He swindles and murders without remorse and his dealings bring him finally to the zero point of values, a state when old values have disappeared and the new ones have not been created. This is a massive book that has had an impact on artists as disparate as Milan Kundera and Michelangelo Antonioni.

  • Michael David
    2019-03-29 09:36

    ‘Amid a blurring of all forms, in a twilight of apathetic uncertainty brooding over a ghostly world, man like a lost child gropes his way by the help of a small frail thread of logic through a dream landscape that he calls reality and that is nothing but a nightmare to him.’ (p. 373)I read Joyce’s Ulysses a few years ago. I was glad that I finished the damn thing, but was quite unimpressed. Was the towering novel of the modernist movement just about utter crap? I’ve read analyses of the novel, and my impression that it was really just one big fart joke cloaked in stylish linguistic experimentation remains the same. I think this stems from the belief that novels are, first and foremost, written to tell a good story: I don’t think one day of sex escapades among the major characters qualifies as a good story. This is where Broch’s Sleepwalkers differs. To paraphrase The Dark Knight, The Sleepwalkers is the novel that modernism deserves, but Ulysses was the one it needed. The Sleepwalkers is a silent guardian: most people nowadays remain unfamiliar with Broch or his works. I myself just stumbled upon this novel in a second-hand bookstore, and decided to purchase it because Hannah Arendt introduced the novel. When such a lucid theorist decides to write praises about a novel, it is highly likely that the novel is great.And I absolutely have no regrets: I just think it’s sad that I’ve read a masterpiece so early in the year, because it will be inevitable for me to compare other works by what this novel had achieved for me. The Sleepwalkers is divided into three novels: it’s actually a novel trilogy. Each of the novels illustrate Broch’s ability: the first novel, The Romantic, was written in the tone and mood of tragic romances that appear near the end of the 19th century. It features a romantic, Joachim von Pasenow, who desperately tries to do well despite his own shortcomings. The tragedy in this volume is that while he is physically and passionately in love with a lady below his social standing (Ruzena), circumstances force them to separate because he has to maintain his family honor and accidents disallow them from realizing their love. He marries within his social circle and it is implied through his impotent honeymoon night that it was more of a marriage of convenience than love. Throughout the novel, von Pasenow nevertheless aims to be honorable and chivalrous in his actions. The second novel, The Anarchist, features a book-keeper excellent at book-keeping but is disillusioned with the world. His name is Esch. To illustrate the turmoil and confusion in fin-de-siecle-ish Germany, Broch paints Esch with less consistent values than von Pasenow. Esch is painted as somewhat of a ‘borderline personality:’ there is only good and bad, and there cannot be otherwise. He eschews authority and is amoral, but puts praise in God and also believes in rescuing women from exploitation. He is confused with the values of the world but can still differentiate between good and evil. He renounces Bertrand because Bertrand was a sodomite, and was also the chairman of the firm he was under (thus the title). As he slowly discovers faith in the Christian God, he understands the evil of sodomy and so finally enacts a plan that overthrew Bertrand. Despite much financial loss in his other exploits, he is hired as a head book-keeper in another firm and finally realizes his love for the widow Hentjen. Finally, the third novel, The Realist, manifests an even increasing fragmentation. The chapters are short, and a number of stories are being told with each chapter. Some chapters feature poetry; one features a play; and some chapters are a breakdown of an essay entitled ‘Disintegration of Values.’ (Yes, Broch's humor is very subtle.) The novel also culminates in the destruction through death and dishonor of the novel trilogy’s first two heroes: only the one who was grounded in the grayness of reality and the present could survive in the Germany of the 1910s. The only one who survives, Huguenau, is the one who divests himself of all faith in anything external to him. Esch, who had discovered faith in God through Protestantism, and von Pasenow, who tried to uphold chivalry and honor, are debased and murdered by the man who knew what he wanted and sought it without regard to anything except his own selfishness: the novel prefigures the arrival of the Nazi, and does so excellently. Here’s a quote that shows Broch’s clairvoyance of it: ‘… the average man, whose life moves between his table and his bed, has no ideas whatever, and therefore falls an easy prey to the ideology of hatred -- … and that such narrow lives were bound to be subsumed in the service of any superpersonal idea, even a destructive one, provided that it could masquerade as socially valuable.'The Sleepwalkers is a smorgasbord of philosophy, wisdom, and poetry. More importantly, however, it tells a wonderful and creative story about Germany’s descent into uninformed darkness. To me, it ranks with Absalom, Absalom! and Petersburg as one of the greatest modernist novels of the 20th century. A novel can be complex without being absurd: The Sleepwalkers manages to be intelligent without being conceited, and that is why it is so much better than Ulysses. It even described my perspective as a quasi-romantic: ‘The lonelier a man becomes, the more detached he is from the value-system in which he lives, the more obviously are his actions determined by the irrational. But the romantic, clinging to the framework of an alien and dogmatic system, is – it seems incredible – completely rational and unchildlike.’ The Sleepwalkers is absolutely brilliant.

  • Feliks
    2019-04-13 12:40

    Writing this review already even though I am just a few pages in; but already I can tell this is going to be a fabulous read. The topics treated so far; and the refined, highly-polished prose...this looks like an extremely savory dish. The author has a voice very much like some of my favorite European writers: Thomas Mann and perhaps Stendhal. It's a novel of manners and psychology, a cultural history. Plus, the topic is Germany--the most savage, the most repulsive, the most fascinating of nations. In just one chapter I am already hearing anecdotes and ruminations on dueling scars, monocles, walking-canes, greatcoats, women in laced-corsets and coiffeured hairdos...maidservants, horses, kidneys, schnapps, Alsation hunting dogs..bravo! Hurrah!

  • Alejandro Teruel
    2019-03-31 10:40

    This is an extraordinary trilogy of novels written between 1928 and 1932 set in 1888 (“The Romantic”, 1903 (“The Anarchist”) and 1918 (“The Realist”). The trilogy is a profound and disquieting reflection on the dis-integration of values that ushers in the peculiarly logical but ultimately irrational and ferocious twentieth century value-systems. As the trilogy progresses it becomes increasingly complex and the third novel, with its trans-genre pastiche of fiction and philosophical essay, and to an unsuccessful and lesser degree poetry and theater, and its use of irony is not only thoroughly modernist but even clearly -albeit despairingly- points the way forwards to postmodernism. It is hard to do the trilogy justice in a review, precisely because it is so rich, so layered, so polytonal; so many events and characters echo others yet most story lines remain maddeningly parallel, since their main characters live their lives like the sleepwalkers they are, encapsulated in their separate dream worlds. Thus, I prefer to refer the reader to four outstanding writings on this trilogy:(1) Stephen Spender´s 1948 review Nightmare and redemption in Commentary Magazine ( Jean-Michel Rabaté´s brilliant essay Joyce and Broch: Or, Who was the Crocodile? (Comparative Literature Studies, Summer 1982), which can be read online at Jstor;(3) The New York Times Book Reviews 1985 review “In search of the absolute novel” by Theodore Ziolkowski ( one of whose key perceptive insights is:According to Broch, sleepwalkers are people living between vanishing and emerging ethical systems, just as the somnambulist exists in a state between sleeping and walking(4) The 2012 essay by Miguel (St. Oberose) at the time being I will merely add some makeshift notes on some aspects of the trilogy and its relation to other works.Note 1: From Kundera and Musil to Broch -or is it the other way around?....To understand the trilogy, I would recommend coming to it only after reading and enjoying at the very least Kundera´sLaughable Loves and Musil´sThe Man without Qualities. Kundera devotes a complete chapter of hisArt of the Novel to The Sleepwalkers and clearly admires Broch. Even though Kundera´s writings flow and apparently effortless ease, and Broch is much more of an ordeal, yet Broch pulls off Kundera´s exact same tone when he writes about Lieutenant Jaretzki and Surgeon-General Kühlenbeck which seem role models for the insatiable Dr. Havel in Laughable Loves. For example here is the one-armed, irreverent and tipsy Jaretzki briefly explaining how he feels impelled to drink:“...but I tell you this, Flurschütz, and I say it in all seriousness: give me some some other, some new drunkenness, it doesn´t matter what as far as I´m concerned, morphia or patriotism or communism or anything else that makes a man drunk...give me something to make me feel we´re all comrades again, and I´ll give up drinking... to-morrow.”Musil´s The Man without Qualities and the exactly contemporaneous The Sleepwalkers, eerily echo each other to the point where characters like Musil´s condemned murderer Moosbrugger seems to be the dream counter-self of Broch´s risen from the dead Ludwig Gödicke -or vice versa...Note 2: The curious case of three engineers turned novelists...Kafka, Musil and Broch form a most curious trio of Austro-Hungarian engineers turned novelists, who in some sense sense and explore the absurdities of modern-life logic and the rise of twentieth century anti-values out of the ashes of nineteenth century petty moralism and overoptimistic reliance on the inexorable march of progress. Musil makes his protagonist Ulrich bitingly wonder what exactly what the newspapers mean when they write about a “racehorse of genius”, while Broch writes:The unreal is the illogical. And this age seems to have a capacity for surpassing even the acme of illogicality, of anti-logicality; it is as if the monstrous reality of the war had blotted out the reality of the world. Fantasy had become logical reality, but reality evolves the most a-logical phantasmagoria. An age that is softer and more cowardly than any preceding age suffocates in waves of blood and poison gas; nations of bank clerks and profiteers hurl themselves on barbed wire; a well organized humanitarianism avails to hinder nothing, but calls itself the Red Cross and prepares artificial limbs for the victims; towns starve and coin money out of their own hunger; spectacled school-teachers lead storm-troops; city dweller live in caves; factory hands and other civilians crawl out on reconnoitering duty, and in the end, once they are back in safety, apply their artificial limbs once more to the making of profits. Amid a blurring of all forms, in a twilight of apathetic uncertainty brooding over a ghostly world, man like a lost child gropes his way by the help of a small frail thread of logic through a dream landscape that he calls reality and that is nothing but a nightmare to him.Small wonder that he exclaims, in the same kind of paradoxical terms applied by the entranced surrealists or worthy of the theater of the absurd:Are we, then, insane because we have not gone mad?But Broch goes further than this, he sees the modern world as a world single-mindedly, logically and insanely bent on pursuing disconnected, splintered, narrow value-systems:...the logic of the businessman demands that all commercial resources shall be exploited with the utmost rigour and efficiency to bring about the destruction of all competition and the sole domination of his own business, whether that be a trading house or a factory or a company or other economic body:the logic of the painter demands that the principles of painting shall be followed to their conclusions with the utmost rigour and thoroughness, at the peril of producing pictures which are completely esoteric, and comprehensible only by those who produce them:the logic of the revolutionist demands that the revolutionary impulse shall be pursued with the utmost rigour and thoroughness for the achievement of a revolution as an end in itself, as, indeed, the logic of politicians in general demands that they shall obtain an absolute dictatorship for their political aims:the logic of the bourgeois climber demands that the watchword “enrichessez-vous” shall be followed with the most absolute and uncompromising rigour:in this fashion, in this absolute devotion to logical rigour, the Western world has won its achievements, -and with the same thoroughness, the absolute thoroughness that abrogates itself, must it eventually advance ad absurdum:war is war, l´art pour l´art, in politics there´s no room for compunction, business is business, -all these signify the same thing, all these appertain to the same aggressive and radical spirit, informed by that uncanny, I might also say that metaphysical, lack of consideration for consequences, that ruthless logic directed on the object and on the object alone, which looks neither to the right nor to the left; and this, all this, is the style of thinking that characterizes our age.[...The single value systems] have separated from one other, now run parallel to each other, and, since they can no longer combine in the service of a supreme value, claim equality with the other: like strangers they exist side by side, an economic value-system of “good business” next to an aesthetic one one of l´art pour l´art, a military code of values side by side with a technical or an athletic, each autonomous, each “in and for itself”, each “unfettered” in its autonomy, each resolved to push home with radical thoroughness the final conclusions of its logic and to break its own record. And woe to the others, if in this conflict of systems that precariously maintain an equilibrium one should gain the preponderance and overtop all the rest, as the military system does in war, or as the economic system is now doing, a system to which even war is subordinate, -woe to the others! For the triumphant system will embrace the whole of the world, it will overwhelm all other values and exterminate them as a cloud of locusts lays waste a field.But man, who was once the image of God, the mirror of a universal value created by himself [...] is helplessly caught in the mechanism of the autonomous value-systems, and can do nothing but submit to the particular value that has become his profession, he can do nothing but become a function of that value -a specialist, eaten up by the radical logic of the value into whose jaws he has fallen.Note 3: Insanity and irrationality in The SleepwalkersA great many characters either become insane, are borderline insane or have psychotic episodes in the trilogy, starting with the first character who appears in the book, Herr Helmuth von Pasenow, Joachim´s father for whom people “...felt an extraordinary and inexplicable repulsion when they saw him coming at them in their streets of Berlin. Joachim´s acquaintance Bertrand, is in fact appears to be the unwitting but historically logical catalyst for insanity throughout the first two novels, since Joachim´s father and his mistress Ruzena who clearly mistrusts Bertrand and considers him in her poor German a “bad friend” to Joachim, become insane after dealing with Bertrand, not to mention Joachim himself whose alienation under his tightly buttoned up army uniform becomes increasingly clear as the first novel progresses. Esch´s paranoid irascibility and resentment bursts into the trilogy from the second novel´s first page rises in crescendo in his lurching and winding road from book-keeper to female wrestling impresario until his final hallucinatory attempt on the source of all evil that the aged and dying Bertrand represents for him. In the third novel, insanity and irrationality is rife as Esch turns up, as irascible as always, metamorphosed into a newspaper printer, editor and free thinker who suddenly “catches” religion from that most unlikely of sources, Joachim von Pasenow now a major and the town army commandant ends up echoing his father´s senility, just as alienated Hanna Wendling last typhoid or influenza fever hallucinations echo Esch´s hallucinatory stream of consciousness episode towards end of the second novel. Ironically Esch the suspicious paranoid is swindled by one of his female wrestling partners at the end of the second novel and by that ferociously cold-blooded epitome of a business man, Huguenau, who ends up by quite literally taking everything away from Esch at the apocalyptic end of war. There are further strands of insanity and irrationality in the narrator of the story of the Salvation Army girl in Berlin and the soldiers being treated for gas poisoning in the town hospital. All this irrationality is, for Broch, the logical consequence of arbitrarily delimited value-systems Huguenau did not think of what he had done, and still less did he recognize the irrationality that had pervaded his actions [...] a man never knows anything about the irrationality that informs his wordless actions [...] he cannot know anything about it, since at every moment he is ruled by some system of values that has no other aim but to conceal and control all the irrationality on which his earthbound empirical life is based.[...] irrationality not only supports every value-system -for the spontaneous act of positing a value, on which the value-system is based is an irrational act -but it informs the whole general feeling of every age, the feeling which assures the prevalence of the value-system, and which both in its origin and in its nature is insusceptible to rational evidence.In short, a great but difficult twentieth century pessimistic masterpiece, not be taken up lightly which will reward close rereading.

  • Ana
    2019-03-30 14:31

    Life events had kept me from writing, but, as usual, it wasn't because I'd stopped reading. I'll start catching up with my reviews with one of the amazing books recommend by my favorite-amazing-writer, Milan Kundera.The Sleepwalkers, by a guy called Hermann Broch (Austrian, I think), is not, really, a novel, but three: The Romantic, The Anarchist and the Realist. Written around the 1940s, the novels go through the end of the 1800s until 1918 (so WWI).Understand that I am not a big fan of war books, but here it actually made sense. The main characters from book one and two are brought back on the third part, and a sort of "antagonist" from the first part, appears also in the second. So, everything is connected in a way that doesn't seem too obvious in the beginning.The first part tells the story of a soldier who has to marry a high-class girl but falls in love with another woman who is a sort of prostitute. The second part tells the story of a book-keeper that quits his job for "moral" reasons and ends up working in a theatre, according to him, to save a girl. The third part shows them both, with a war deserter, in a little town affected by war, with their different viewpoints according to what happened to them earlier in life. Broch makes a strong criticism of society (that still applies nowadays), regarding what are the motives behind our actions, and which do we pretend our motives to be. It is very interesting to see him describe the train thoughts of the characters, and justifying things for them in a way that even the reader can get caught up in this non-sensical reasoning. He also makes an interesting point in telling you what the characters are NOT thinking some times, and manages to get in his personal opinions about the decadence in society without them seeming something external from the book. The truth is that it is a bit hard to read because of the language used (and the sentences are too long, for example), but it is worth it. It has complicated concepts, but very interesting ones (I have been using a lot of quotes from this book in my daily life lately), and I do recommend it for people who want to re-evaluate the way they think.

  • Philip Thiel
    2019-03-26 15:42

    One of the great pleasures and illusions of reading is being given words for what we already know. We reach the end of a paragraph so original it’s familiar, as if the writer were transcribing our own mind. “I’ve always known this,” we lie. In surrealism this effect is more rare. Waking as a cockroach isn’t familiar; nor is following a rabbit. And yet Hermann Broch – a writer as offbeat as Kafka and Carroll – somehow seems always to be telling the truth, even at his most uncanny. “And because horses, who although docile are yet somewhat insane creatures, exert on many human beings a kind of magical influence,” he writes, and I’m ready for what comes next, having always known this about horses.Like other modernists (and other Austrians) Broch heightens things beyond their usual scope, but only because we all do. Characters in The Sleepwalkers witness each other through a fog of their own preoccupations, a psychological filter through which things become meaningful only as they distort. Language plays a devastating role in this, like a friend so good at actively listening they reduce you to a single perfect cliché.“It was all incomprehensible,” someone realises, working harder than all the philosophical sections of the novel combined. Passages like the “logical excursus” are worthy enough, but by comparison form a negative argument for the value of fiction. Happily, both fiction and philosophy are told with the heterogeneous tools of modernism, given a Teutonic twist: Broch’s stream-of-consciousness is clearer than Woolf’s, and a 282-word sentence is Proustian only in length, describing not personal memory but the categorical distinction between the rebel and the criminal.But for all its formal variety (plays, letters, hymns) the book’s existentialism is unyielding. “For although every man believes that his decisions and resolutions involve the most multifarious factors, in reality they are a mere oscillation between flight and longing, and the ultimate goal of all flight and all longing is death.”

  • Olga
    2019-03-31 12:52

    This book is interesting because modernity is interesting, which is what this book demonstrates. We start with a German military man, bound by traditiin and with little confusion about what he is meant to do... until globalizing elements intrude on his taken for granted reality. Then we have a pseudo anarchist, who desperately wants something to believe in but who secretly fears that all of it is a hoax and that only sensual pleasure and pain are reality. Last, we have a man who sees reality for what it is-- a shifting morass of opportunities to benefit oneself at the expense of others, using the cynical ideals that even they don't believe in but must nonetheless follow.Between these macro plot lines, there are countless delightfully penetrating observations into human psychology and relationships. This is one of the best books I've ever read, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

  • Kobe Bryant
    2019-04-19 09:51

    The first two parts are pretty cool because theyre about these neurotic guys trying to get laid, but I dont even know what the third part is about. Goodreads staff please add 3 instead of 1 to my '2013 books read' because this is a trilogy

  • أحمد الحقيل
    2019-04-01 12:46

    i can't understand why a great writer like Broch doesn't get the same recognition his contemporaries Mann or Hesse or even Musil got . a great book .

  • Andy
    2019-04-06 17:38

    I've heard the third part is amazing, but I barely made it through the first part and the second part...well...that's where I just had to stop.

  • Richard
    2019-04-07 12:57

    If you try to bring down the exploitative capitalist economic system, you'll probably end up doing more harm than good.

  • Emily
    2019-04-15 13:41

    “Love is an absolute thing, Elisabeth, and when the absolute tries to express itself in earthly terms, then it always turns into pathos, simply because it can’t be demonstrated. And as the whole thing then becomes so horribly earthly, the pathos is always very funny, represented by the gentleman who goes down on his knees to get you to accede to all his wishes; and if one loves you one must avoid that. “ Was his intention in saying this to intimate that he loved her? As he became silent she looked at him questioningly. He appeared to understand:“There is a true pathos, and we call it eternity. And as there is no positive eternity for human beings it must be a negative one and can be put in the words ‘never-to-meet-again.’ If I go away now, eternity is here; then you will be eternally remote from me and I can say that I love you.” “Don’t say such dreadful things.” “Perhaps it’s the absolute clearness of my feelings that makes me talk like this to you. But perhaps there’s a little hate and resentment too in my forcing you to listen to my monologue, jealousy perhaps, because you’ll stay here and live on.”“Real jealousy?”“Yes, jealousy, and a little pride as well. For there’s the wish in it to let a stone fall into the well of your soul, so that it may rest there for ever.” “So you want to intrude yourself into my intimacy too.?”“It may be. But still stronger is the wish that the stone may turn into a talisman for you.”“When?”“When the man will kneel before you whom I’m jealous of at this moment, the man who will offer you with that antiquated gesture his physical proximity: then the memory of, let us say, an aseptic form of love may help to remind you that behind every pseudo-aesthetic gesture in love there is hidden a still grosser reality.”“Do you say that to all women you run away from?”“One should say it to them all, but I generally run away before it comes to that.” Elisabeth stared reflectively at her horse’s mane. Then she said: “I don’t know, but all this sounds strangely unnatural and beside the point to me.”“If you’re thinking of the propagation of the human race, then of course it’s unnatural. But do you find it more natural that some man or other, who lives somewhere at present, eating and drinking and looking after his affairs, will meet you some time by a stupid chance, and take a suitable opportunity of telling you how beautiful you are, getting down on one knee before you, so that afterwards, having gone through certain formalities, the two of you might produce children. Do you find that quite natural?”“Be silent! That’s dreadful!…That’s horrible!”“Yes, it is dreadful, but not because I speak of it as it is; for it’s a still more dreadful thing to think that you’re certainly destined, and very soon, to experience it and not merely to hear about it.” Elisabeth fought down her tears; she said with an effort: “But why, in Heaven’s name, should I hear about it?…please, please, be silent.”“What are you afraid of Elisabeth?”She replied softly: “I’m afraid enough as it is.”“Of what?”“Of everything unknown, of others, of what’s to come… I can’t express it. I have a desperate hope that what is still to come will be as familiar to me as everything that’s familiar now. My father and mother belong to each other after all. But you want to take away my hope from me.”“And you refuse to see the danger because you’re afraid of it. Isn’t it one’s duty to shake you awake so that you mightn’t let your life run away, or dry to dust, or shrink to nothing, or something like that, out of mere indifference, or conventional notions, or ignorance?…Elisabeth, I mean very well by you.” Once more Elisabeth found the right words when she said softly, hesitatingly, against her will: “Then why don’t you stay?”“I’ve only been flung in your way by mere chance. And if I remained it would be as much an assault on your feelings as those I’ve been trying to warn you against; a somewhat aseptic assault, but still an assault.”“What should I do?”“That can be answered only negatively: nothing that isn’t approved by every fibre of you. No one can come to fulfillment except by submitting freely and absolutely to the law of his feelings and his nature—forgive the pathos.”“Nobody ever helps me.”“No, you are alone, as alone as you will be on your deathbed.”“It isn’t true. It isn’t true, what you say. I’ve never been alone, nor are my father and mother alone. You talk like that because you want to be alone…or perhaps it gives you pleasure to torment me?”“Elisabeth, you are so beautiful that perhaps your fulfillment and completion lie simply in your beauty. Why should I torment you? But all I’ve said is true, and I’ve not said the worst either.”“Don’t torment me.”“Somewhere in everybody there’s an insane hope that the little scrap of love that is given us will fling that bridge over the void. Be on your guard against the pathos of love.”“What are you warning me against now?”“All pathos comes to this, that it promises us a mystery and tries to redeem its promise by a cliché. I should like to see you safeguarded against that kind of love.”“You’re a poor creature.”“Because I show my empty pockets? Be on your guard against anyone who doesn’t show them.”“No, not that. I feel that you’re more to be pitied than the others, even than those others you talked about…”“I must warn you again. Never pity anyone in this business. A love born of pity is no better than a love that’s bought.”“Oh!”“Yes, you won’t admit that, Elisabeth. Well, put it this way then: the woman who sings out of pity presents afterward the most pitiless reckoning.”Elisabeth looked at him almost with hostility: “I have no pity for you.”“But you shouldn’t look at me so angrily, all the same, although it’s almost honester that you should.”“Why honester?”Bertrand was silent. Then after a while he said: “Listen, Elisabeth, one must carry even honesty to the bitter end. I don’t like to say such things. But I love you. I state that with all the seriousness and all the honesty that one can be capable of in these matters of feeling. And I know, too, that you could come to love me—““For Heaven’s sake, be silent…”“Why? I don’t overestimate these vague emotional states in the least, and I won’t try to be pathetic. Yet no man can quench the insane hope that some time he’ll find that mystical bridge of love. But just because of that I must go away. There is only one real kind of pathos, the pathos of separation, of pain…if one wants to make the bridge capable of holding, then one must stretch it so far that no weight can be put on it. If after that—““Oh, be silent.”“If after that necessity is still stronger than all that one has voluntarily set against it, if the tension of an indescribable longing becomes so sharp that it threatens to cut the world in two, then the proven hope may arise that the weak individual destiny of two human beings is lifted above the chaos of chance, above a stale and sentimental melancholy, above a mechanical and fortuitous intimacy.”And as though he were talking to himself and no longer to Elisabeth, he continued: “I believe, and this is my deepest belief, that only by a dreadful intensification of itself, only when in a sense it becomes infinite, can the strangeness parting two human beings be transformed into its opposite, into absolute recognition, an let that thing come to life which hovers in front of love as its unattainable goal, and yet is its condition: the mystery of oneness. The gradual accustoming of oneself to another, the gradual deepening of intimacy, evokes no mystery whatever.”Elisabeth was crying.He went on softly: “I should like you never to know and suffer from love except in that final and unattainable form. And even if I should not be the one, I would not be jealous of anybody then. But I suffer and feel jealous and impotent when I think that you will put up with something cheaper. Are you crying because perfection is unattainable? Then you are right to cry. Oh, I love you, I long to sink in your strangeness, I long that you might be the final and predestined woman for me…”

  • Matouš
    2019-04-19 15:58

    Náměsíčníci (v německém originále Die Schlafwandler) je románová trilogie rakouského spisovatele Hermanna Brocha (1889-1951) sepsaná v letech 1930-1932. Autor začal s literární tvorbou až ve zralém věku a Náměsíčníci bylo jeho první románové dílo. Předcházely mu kratší texty, které spisovatel vydal ještě před zahájením práce na románu, a následovala je další díla, zejména eseje ze 30. let, jež se týkaly umění, estetiky, ornamentu a kýče. Broch Náměsíčníky rozdělil do tří dílů s výstižnými názvy Pasenow neboli romantika (1888), Esch neboli anarchie (1903) a Huguenau neboli věcnost (1918). V každém z jejich hrdinů autor zosobnil ducha doby, přičemž v díle jako celku usiluje o postižení krize a cítění moderního světa. Trilogie má poměrně komplikovanou vnitřní stavbu. Broch v závislosti na obsahu volí formu jednotlivých částí, které se vyznačují proměnlivým jazykovým stylem od nejkultivovanějšího při líčení osudu důstojníka Pasenowa až k nesnesitelně věcnému v příběhu válečného zběha Huguenaua. Autor přistupuje rovněž k esejistickému stylu při popisu rozpadu hodnot a dává prostor veršům, dramatu, novinovému stylu, korespondenci nebo aforismům. Stejně kompozičně propracované jsou i jednotlivé osudy postav. Broch při snaze vysvětlit postavu definuje na počátku její základní postoj, který následně rozvíjí a srovnává s jinými postavami. V první části je tak Jáchym von Pasenow protipólem logiky Bertranda a Alžběta s Růženou zase zosobňují dvě podoby lásky. V druhé části tyto protiklady tvoří impulsivní Esch snažící se za jakoukoliv cenu o nápravu světa a vyrovnaný Geyring, jenž chce dosáhnout změny společnosti pokojnou cestou. Proti nepřístupné a upjaté vdově Gertrudě Hentjenové zde stojí povolná Erna Kornová a lhostejná tajemná dívka Ilona. Poslední díl trilogie je propletencem osudů postav na konci války. Z rebelujícího Esche se stává až fanatický náboženský agitátor, který stojí proti bezzásadově přizpůsobivému Huguenauovi. Vnitřně prázdná Hanna Wedlingová jde proti obětavé sestře Martě, která si však svou existenci nijak neuvědomuje a nikam nesměřuje. Zmrtvýchvstalý zedník Gödicke opět formuje svou osobnost a je protikladem ke stále pasivnějšímu majoru Pasenowovi, jenž upadá v závěru knihy po automobilové nehodě do bezvědomí, a válečnému invalidovi a alkoholikovi Jareztkému, který se snaží najít nový směr svého života. Příběhy se vzájemně vyvažují a kontrastují, aby všechny dohromady tvořily románovou protiváhu eseje o rozpadu hodnot. Děj románu není pevně svázán s historií, přestože se Broch nevyhýbá dobovým reáliím (např. španělské chřipce). Autor upřednostňuje nejlepší způsob jak pochopit jev, tedy srovnávat ho. Své postavy dovádí od romantiky k věcnosti a od přesvědčení k poznání, že neexistuje žádný skutečný cíl. Jen nekonečno může být cílem, a proto se postavy vrhají do cizoty. Náměsíčnictví představuje v trilogii iracionální jistotu, jež vede své představitele k jejich cílům. A taková cesta může nakonec znamenat manželství bez lásky, udavačství či vraždu. Zároveň se však dotyční jedinci udržují v systému svých hodnot, takže jejich činy se jim jeví jako správné a jediné možné. A revoluce jsou pak vždy vzpourami zla proti zlu, vzpourou iracionality proti „racionálním institucím“. Brochova filosofie je zde silně ovlivněna Kantovým dílem. Náměsíčníci patří mezi přední díla moderní evropské prózy a představují první stavební kámen Brochova filozofického pojímání rozpadu hodnot. Česky byl román poprvé vydán v roce 1966 ve velmi kvalitním překladu Rio Preisnera (verše přebásnil Josef Suchý). Rio Preisner napsal také doslov ke knize zahrnující podrobnou analýzu Náměsíčníků. Dílo Hermanna Brocha bylo a je předmětem zájmu mnoha literárních kritiků i spisovatelů (např. Milana Kundery). Náměsíčníci se setkali s velkým čtenářským ohlasem, který vedl některé Brochovy současníky (např. spisovatele Roberta Musila) ke kritickému postoji z hlediska jejich skutečné hloubky záběru či zpracování. Později se dílo stalo jakýmsi znakem „prestižního intelektualismu“, jenž ironicky zachytil režisér Michelangelo Antonioni ve filmu Noc (La notte, 1961) – knihu si čte jedna z postav (herečka Monica Vitti). Současnou divadelní adaptaci uvádí HaDivadlo pod názvem Náměsíčníci (imitace a tušení).

  • Alex Obrigewitsch
    2019-04-07 17:48

    Again, I will hopefully get to writing a revuew sooner rather than later. Things have been piling up, and this has really relsulted from whilst also exacerbating a creative blockage resulting in a completely nullified output.*sigh* I guess I could say it has something to do with the ubiquitous disintegration of value, without providing any supplementary explication of this statement. It will have to do for now. It remains...

  • Mientras Leo
    2019-04-08 16:29

    Broch es fantástico y este libro es realmente increíble, posiblemente mi favorito tras La muerte de Virgilio que es un 5 estrellasMe gusta que además, requiera un poco de concentración al lector, un mínimo esfuerzo que implica que el escritor valora la inteligencia de sus lectores y su capacidad para montar la historia con las piezas que le va dejando

  • Corinne
    2019-04-07 16:29

    Three books in one collection-"The Romantic"(1888), "The Anarchist" (1903), and "The Realist" (1918). Literature at it's Germanist. Not an easy read, what I expected in the stern yet anxiety ridden prose. I was compelled forward from each and every page. Coming from a second generation German American family it struck home.

  • Carlos Vasconcelos
    2019-04-16 13:34

    Just pure superb writing.

  • Mario Barra-Jover
    2019-04-04 11:47

    No hay peor gimnasia intelectual que saber que un libro que te incordia un poco es un buen libro. Las tres novelas recogidas en este volumen son del mismo corte: antihéroe, peripecia elemental y un torrente psicológico negativo del personaje principal (ocasionalmente de los secundarios) que se plasma más en sus reacciones ante los detalles que en sus obras o pensamientos generales. Técnicamente en el tránsito entre el relato decimonónico y los nuevos moldes de narración, los relatos ya abren las puertas a la expresión cruda -y no crítica- del malestar humano, sobre todo a través de la sexualidad. El narrador, además, se permite sólo de vez en cuando las "grandes verdades" hacia las que sus predecesores eran tan inclinados (y, sea dicho, a menudo con mucho tino).Se supone que Broch, como Musil (quizá también Zweig), es el espectador lúcido de una época y un espacio que sabe plasmar a través de peripecias bastante elementales. Ahora bien, es el lector el que decide si la ausencia casi total de simpatía e identificación que le infligen los personajes es una cuestión cultural, temporal... o una proeza del autor, capaz de mantener vivos a personajes de psicología tan inhóspita.En lo que me concierne (porque esto es una opinión informal y no una crítica académica), es difícil navegar en aguas tan enfangadas por la culpa, la repugnancia –es quizá la reaccion más monotonamente machacada–, la insatisfacción, la mancha, la sed de redención y otras de la familia. Dicho llanamente, esta obra maltrata mi optimismo y mi amor al prójimo, que no todo el mundo comparte. Y no creo que sea por barrera cultural: los rusos de Dostoievsky o, más recientemente, de Ludmila Oulistkaia, me agitan hasta el agotamiento, pero me dan algo grato y vivo a cambio.Con todo, aconsejo la lectura de Broch, aunque sólo sea porque ayuda a confirmar si te atrae más la luz que la oscuridad. Y porque escribe muy bien, por supuesto. Pero eso no lo voy a descubrir yo ahora.

  • Howard
    2019-04-08 16:53

    This a very long trilogy set in Germany in the periods 1890s, pre-WW1 1903 and WW1 end. It was written around the early 1930s. Each story has a different style; the first two looked like standard linear prose and the third (twice as long as the other two) was mixed episodic, parallel stories. The writing is highly regarded and akin with Mann’s Magic Mountain or similar. The first book is about upper class Joachim von Pasenow who fancies a vibrant and characterful Czech prostitute Ruzena. But his family have earmarked his social equal Elisabeth von Baddensen for marriage. Joachim is in the army but maintains close links to a scheming rich friend, ex-military Eduard. I think the thrust of the story were the usual themes of true desires and changing values (in this case orchestrated by Eduard).The second book is about a middleclass accountant August Esch who aspires for a new life in America. He associates with Martin Geyring and (seemingly in the mode of a Monty Python sketch, but rather than ‘lion taming’) starts a new life as a theatre production manager with women’s wrestling. He fancies Frau Hentjen and hopes to marry her (and use her money for investment).The third book sees a deserter called Huguenau arrive in town and he decides the local newpaper, run by Esch, is ripe for a take-over. Esch is part of a local religious group with the local Major. There are parallel stories about a Salvation Army cadet. Joachim makes an appearance; and there is a war wounded soldier Jaretki and his hospital care. The drama descends on the town as the war comes to an end.I thought I’d really enjoy this writer and these stories but, much like Magic Mountain, each story started to drag on. It was only really the last 10% of each story when it felt like it was actually going any where. Much like the characters “sleepwalking” into their lives – I’ve woken up after reading these stories, as if from a sleepwalk, and remember little of the tales.There was a very erudite prose section called “The Disintegration of Values, which he I had been bothered to really analyse I’m sure would have got under the skin of the world’s values in the presence of war – but some how I had already given up on the text by then.Some quotes:“We all are in conventional feeling. But feelings are inert, and that’s why they’re so cruel. The world is ruled by the inertia of feeling”“Even the devil was still subject to the will of God”“The man who from afar off yearns for his wife or merely for the home of his childhood has begun his sleepwalking”“In the rushing train only the future is real, for every moment is given to a different place”Only three stars.

  • J.M. Hushour
    2019-04-04 10:53

    Yet again I encounter another self-assured "classic" that, for some reason or other when I was younger and perhaps stupider, I held in such high regard that I plopped it on my Favorites shelf (this is a real, wooden, if sodden, shelf, not an ethereal rectangle that an ethereal arrow cupids for me) and then left well enough alone.Well, rereads can be painful, I confess. It isn't just that the book, like this one, held in high favor by luminaries such as Milan Kundera, is kind of terrible, it's painful more because I never realized that my tastes were so compromised by wide-eyed, inept youthfulness. I wasn't wise or ahead of my time at all. I was probably brimming over with bombast, crouched in a corner of a coffee shop reading this book, holding it up with caffeine-sickened, trembling hands trying to make sense out of it in my delirium. And it is this banal meaninglessness of it that probably drew me to it.Three bland, unmoving stories that correspond little to their direct, titled themes. A petty, immature military officer obsesses over cute Slavic prostitutes. A clerk or accountant or whatever he is tries to get busy with an older, restaurant owner. And there's something about a rich gay business owner he wants to kill. Uh-huh. Finally, a meandering story about an army deserter and everyone else shows up, too. There's a supposed running theme of alienation from one's time, the war, cultural shifts, etc., but it comes across rather poorly. Musil achieved this with much greater effect. I've read some of Broch's other works and remember enjoying them, like the outrageous "Death of Virgil" but this one is a miss. Just a highly-regarded miss that now makes me question everything about myself. To the corner for the weeping and thumb-sucking!

  • Bill Wallace
    2019-04-22 17:42

    Perhaps the most articulate scream of despair about the first World War ever written, Broch's Sleepwalkers is a powerful, sometimes difficult book. Three related novels that culminate in a harrowing story set in 1919 not far behind the German trenches, The Sleepwalkers is less concerned with the details of the war and more with its effect on the collective psyche of Europe. Generally a study in the decay of values, from the relative "purity" of late 19th Century romanticism, albeit parodied, rooted in a shaky faith in divinity, through a pre-war study in troubled ideologies, also parodied, into a final apocalypse of utter collapse, where the only values are survival in a state of dismemberment, commerce at any price, and murder. The third book, The Realist, is one of the best pieces of fiction I've read from the era, but I found the first two books considerably tougher to get through, perhaps because the parodies were dependent on a degree of familiarity with other works of the period that I lack. It's also difficult to gauge the effectiveness of translated work that is playing with style; one never knows how much is lost in the translation. My agnostic instincts also rebelled at the intrinsic superiority accorded to the "pure" values of Catholicism and unquestioning faith in the word of god suggested in the long essay, "The Disintegration of Values," that weaves through the final book. Religion may have looked like a better refuge for humanity in 1919 but the implicit mourning for an age of pure values based on superstition appears naive from this reader's point of view.