In Hora Mortis / Under the Iron of the Moon: Poems

Overview

Internationally acclaimed Austrian novelist, playwright, and memoirist Thomas Bernhard (1931-1989) has been compared to Kafka and Beckett, and critics have ranked his novels among the masterpieces of the twentieth century. But in fact he began his career in the 1950s as a poet, publishing three books of well-received verse before turning to fiction. In Hora Mortis / Under the Iron of the Moon is the first book of his expressionist-like poetry to be published in English. Bringing together Bernhard's second and ...

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Overview

Internationally acclaimed Austrian novelist, playwright, and memoirist Thomas Bernhard (1931-1989) has been compared to Kafka and Beckett, and critics have ranked his novels among the masterpieces of the twentieth century. But in fact he began his career in the 1950s as a poet, publishing three books of well-received verse before turning to fiction. In Hora Mortis / Under the Iron of the Moon is the first book of his expressionist-like poetry to be published in English. Bringing together Bernhard's second and third books of poetry, the collection's short, untitled lyrics reveal his early explorations of themes that would continue to preoccupy him in his novels, plays, and other writings--especially his intense ambivalence toward the land and people of Austria and their then-recent Nazi past. As the translator James Reidel writes in his preface, "Bernhard found Austrian soil . . . to be like a hair shirt and a blanket. It is a killing ground but with a postcard setting." In poems that both subvert and pay homage to such influences as Georg Trakl, Bernhard begins to develop his characteristic dark humor while exploring themes of nature, death, meaninglessness, and faith.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Sun - Eric Ormsby
For all their acrid elegance, [these poems] are compelling because Thomas Bernhard wrote them. . . . [T]hey . . . show how deeply Bernhard, the caustic besmircher of the native nest, was rooted in the soil of his homeland. Every line suggests that his love of it was almost equal to his loathing.
From the Publisher

"For all their acrid elegance, [these poems] are compelling because Thomas Bernhard wrote them. . . . [T]hey . . . show how deeply Bernhard, the caustic besmircher of the native nest, was rooted in the soil of his homeland. Every line suggests that his love of it was almost equal to his loathing."--Eric Ormsby, New York Sun
New York Sun
For all their acrid elegance, [these poems] are compelling because Thomas Bernhard wrote them. . . . [T]hey . . . show how deeply Bernhard, the caustic besmircher of the native nest, was rooted in the soil of his homeland. Every line suggests that his love of it was almost equal to his loathing.
— Eric Ormsby
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Thomas Bernhard wrote the novels "Gargoyles" and "Woodcutters" and the play "Heldenplatz". James Reidel is a poet, translator, and scholar.

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Table of Contents


Translator's Preface vii
In Hora Mortis 1
Under the Iron of the Moon 45
Index of First Lines 161
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