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Murder, lust, shame, hypocrisy, and suicide are at the center of The Guiltless, Hermann Broch's postwar novel about the disintegration of European society in the decades preceding the Second World War. Broch's characters—apathetic, cruel, or indolent—are trapped in their indifference, prisoners of a "wakeful somnolence." They may mention the "imbecile Hitler," yet they prefer sex or a nap to any social action. Broch thought such ethical perversity and political apathy paved the way for Nazism and hoped that by revealing Germany's underlying guilt he could purge indifference from his own and future generations. In The Guiltless, Broch captures how ennui—a very human failing—evolves into something dehumanizing and dangerous.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810160781
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication date: 12/28/2000
Edition description: Translated
Pages: 292
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Hermann Broch (1886-1951) had careers as a mathematician, engineer, and director of a Viennese textile firm before publishing his first work, the trilogy Sleepwalkers, in 1930-32. In 1935 he spent 5 months in a Nazi prison; in 1940 he emigrated to the U.S.

Ralph Manheim has translated Danilo Kiš's Hourglass and Günter Grass's Tin Drum and has edited translated novels and plays by Bertolt Brecht, Hermann Hesse, and Erich Maria Remarque.

Table of Contents

Parable of the Voice
Voices: 1913
I. Sailing before a Light Breeze (1931)
II. Methodically Constructed (1917)
     Voices: 1923
III. The Prodigal Son (1933)
IV. The Ballad of the Beekeeper
V. Zerline's Tale
VI. A Slight Disappointment (1933)
VII. Studienrat Zacharias's Four Speeches
VIII. Ballad of the Procuress
IX. The Bought Mother
      Voices: 1933
X. The Commendatore
XI. Passing Cloud (1933)

How The Guiltless Came into Being

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