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Geist and Zeitgeist [Hardcover]

Hermann Broch

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Book Description

Dec 5 2002
From one of the giants of European literature, six essays never before published in English. Hermann Broch achieved international recognition for his brilliant use of innovative literary techniques to present the entire range of human experience, from the biological to the metaphysical. Concerned with the problem of ethical responsibility in a world with no unified system of values, he turned to literature as the appropriate form for considering those human problems not subject to rational treatment.Late in life, Broch began questioning his artistic pursuits and turned from literature to devote himself to political theory. While he is well known and highly regarded throughout the world as a novelist, he was equally accomplished as an essayist. These six essays give us a fascinating glimpse into the mind of one of the twentieth century's most original thinkers.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; export ed edition (Dec 5 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158243168X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582431680
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 16 x 2.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,425,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Though best known to American scholars as an unsung master novelist (The Death of Virgil; The Sleepwalkers), Austrian-born Broch (1886-1951) also penned challenging, provocative essays. The six collected here, among the few to have been translated into English, represent the dominant themes in Broch's writings. For most of his life, the author concerned himself with the role of art in an era he felt was undergoing a "dissolution of values." Indeed, all but one of these essays are based on Broch's belief that Western culture had lost its unifying value-set, and was thus floundering, ethically and esthetically, as it waited for the emergence of another prevalent set of values. Not surprisingly, he champions art that represents universal human experience; he repeatedly cites James Joyce's Ulysses as being uniquely of its time, even as it revived the principles of Homeric myth. In "Evil in the Value-System of Art," Broch argues that kitsch, because it is imitative rather than original and seeks beauty rather than truth, is "the evil in art." Broch's ideas and ideals are nothing if not rarified, but the rigor of his thought and the strength of his belief in art's ability-duty, even-to restore a culture's universal mythic knowledge is striking.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Broch is the greatest novelist European literature has provided since Joyce." -- George Steiner

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IF IN the course of civilization it was always art and its respective styles that gave most visible expression to the lifestyles of different epochs. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful collection of essays March 21 2013
By Artes - Published on Amazon.com
I'm surprised to see this hasn't been reviewed yet! It's a shining collection of essays by Broch. If you've read any of his novels and liked them, you will definitely like these. He writes in a similar style: very florid, but penetrating and always interesting.

The subject of the first essay "Evil in the Value-System of Art" will be familiar to readers of the Sleepwalkers. Broch talks about the disintegration of an integrated value system which he says we used to have in the high middle ages. Where do we find value? The nullification of death, he says. A very interesting read.

Two of the other essays deal with modernist literature and this is obviously interesting inasmuch as it reflects on Broch's own work. He also has some good reflections on Joyce and other modernists which helped me see them in a new way.

Another highlight of the collection is the essay on the art of translation, which Broch wrote from the perspective of his translator and, oddly enough, asked her to deliver as a speech.

Overall: an erudite collection, a very good read.

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