Summer 1949 • Vol. XI No. 3 Nonfiction |

The Achievement of Hermann Broch

Herman Broch1 belongs in that tradition of great 20th Century novelists who have transformed, almost beyond recognition, one of the classic art-forms of the 19th Century. The modern novel no longer serves as "entertainment and instruction" (Broch) and its authors no longer relate the unusual, unheard-of "incident" (Goethe) or tell a story from which the reader will get "advice" (W. Benjamin). It rather confronts him with problems and perplexities in which the reader must be prepared to engage himself if he is to understand it at all. The result of this transformation has been that the most accessible and popular art has become one of the most difficult and esoteric. The medium of suspense has disappeared and with it the possibility of passive fascination; the novelist's ambition to create the illusion of a higher reality or to accomplish the transfiguration of the real together with the revelation of its manifold significance has yielded to the intention to involve the reader in som

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