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Hermann Broch quotes (showing 1-23 of 23)

“Those who live by the sea can hardly form a single thought of which the sea would not be part.”
Hermann Broch
tags: ocean, sea
“...in the intoxication of falling, man was prone to believe himself propelled upward.”
Hermann Broch, The Death of Virgil
“The maker of kitsch does not create inferior art, he is not an incompetent or a bungler, he cannot be evaluated by aesthetic standards; rather, he is ethically depraved, a criminal willing radical evil. And since it is radical evil that is manifest here, evil per se, forming the absolute negative pole of every value-system, kitsch will always be evil, not just kitsch in art, but kitsch in every value-system that is not an imitation system.”
Hermann Broch
“… for overstrong was the command to hold fast to each smallest particle of time, to the smallest particle of every circumstance, and to embody all of them in memory as if they could be preserved in memory through all deaths for all times.”
Hermann Broch, The Death of Virgil
“...he knew of the innermost danger of all artists, he knew the utter loneliness of the man destined to be an artist, he knew the inherent loneliness which drove such a one into the still deeper loneliness of art and into the beauty that cannot be articulated, and he knew that for the most part such men were shattered by this immolation, that it made them blind, blind to the world, blind to the divine quality in the world and in the fellow-man, that--intoxicated by their loneliness--they were able to see only their own god-likeness, which they imagined to be unique, and consequently this self-idolatry and its greed for recognition came more and more to be the sole content of their work--, a betrayal of the divine as well as of art, because in this fashion the work of art became a work of un-art, an unchaste covering for artistic vanity, so spurious that even the artist's self-complacent nakedness which it exposed became a mask; and even though such unchaste self-gratification, such dalliance with beauty, such concern with effects, even though such an un-art might, despite its brief unrenewable grant, its inextensible boundaries, find an easier way to the populace than real art ever found, it was only a specious way, a way out of the loneliness, but not, however, an affiliation with the human community, which was the aim of real art in its aspiration toward humanity, no, it was the affiliation with the mob, it was a participation in its treacherous non-community, which was incapable of the pledge, which neither created nor mastered any reality, and which was unwilling to do so, preferring only to drowse on, forgetting reality, having forfeited it as had un-art and literarity, this was the most profound danger for every artist; oh how painfully, how very painfully he knew this.”
Hermann Broch, The Death of Virgil
“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, and if he has learned by experience how pleasurable it undoubtedly is to lie with another fellow-creature in bed, then he is ready to believe that this extremely intimate association of two bodies may last until these bodies are coffined: and even if at the same time it has its disgusting aspects, because it takes place under coarse and badly aired sheets, or because he is convinced that all a girl cares for is to get a husband who will support her in later life, yet it must not be forgotten that every fellow-creature, even if she has a sallow complexion, sharp, thin features and an obviously missing tooth in her left upper jaw, yearns, in spite of her missing tooth, for that love which she thinks will for ever shield her from death, from that fear of death which sinks with the falling of every night upon the human being who sleeps alone, a fear that already licks her as with a tongue of flame when she begins to take off her clothes, as Fraulein Erna was doing now; she laid aside her faded red-velvet blouse and took off her dark-green shirt and her petticoat.”
Hermann Broch, The Sleepwalkers
tags: death
“Orpheus chose to be the leader of mankind. Ah, not even Orpheus had attained such a goal, not even his immortal greatness had justified such vain and presumptuous dreams of grandeur, such flagrant overestimation of poetry! Certainly many instances of earthly beauty--a song, the twilit sea, the tone of the lyre, the voice of a boy, a verse, a statue, a column, a garden, a single flower--all possess the divine faculty of making man hearken unto the innermost and outermost boundaries of his existence, and therefore it is not to be wondered at that the lofty art of Orpheus was esteemed to have the power of diverting the streams from their beds and changing their courses, of luring the wild beasts of the forest with tender dominance, of arresting the cattle a-browse upon the meadows and moving them to listen, caught in the dream and enchanted, the dreamwish of all art: the world compelled to listen, ready to receive the song and its salvation. However, even had Orpheus achieved his aim, the help lasts no longer than the song, nor does the listening, and on no account might the song resound too long, otherwise the streams would return to their old courses, the wild beasts of the forest would again fall upon and slay the innocent beasts of the field, and man would revert again to his old, habitual cruelty; for not only did no intoxication last long, and this was likewise true of beauty's spell, but furthermore, the mildness to which men and beasts had yielded was only half of the intoxication of beauty, while the other half, not less strong and for the most part far stronger, was of such surpassing and terrible cruelty--the most cruel of men delights himself with a flower--that beauty, and before all the beauty born of art, failed quickly of its effect if in disregard of the reciprocal balance of its two components it approached man with but one of them.”
Hermann Broch, The Death of Virgil
“the irrational invalidates any meaning attached to it.”
Hermann Broch, The Sleepwalkers
“Ennen vanhaan vain kirkko oli ihmisten mahtava tuomari, ja jokainen tiesi olevansa syntinen. Nyt pitää syntisen tuomita toinen syntinen, jotta kaikki arvot eivät rappeutuisi anarkiaksi, eikä veli enää voi vain itkeä veljen kanssa, vaan hänen on sanottava tälle: "Olet tehnyt väärin." Ja jos ennen vain pappismiehen asu erottui muista jotenkin epäinhimillisenä, ja jopa univormussa ja virkapuvussakin oli silloin vielä jotakin siviilimäistä, niin sittemmin, kun uskon suuri suvaitsemattomuus oli mennyttä, piti maallisen virka-asu nostaa taivaallisen sijaan ja yhteiskunnan piti jakautua maallisiin hierarkioihin ja univormuihin ja kohottaa absoluuttisuuteen uskon sijasta. Ja koska romantiikkaa aina on juuri se että maallinen kohotetaan absoluuttiseksi, niin tämän aikakauden varsinaista aitoa romantiikkaa on univormuromantiikka, ikään kuin olisi olemassa ylimaallinen ja yliajallinen univormun aate, jota ei ole ja joka silti on niin voimallinen että se saa ihmisen valtaansa paljon voimakkaammin kuin mikään maallinen ammatti tai kutsumus konsanaan, se on ei-olemassaoleva ja silti niin voimakas aate, että se tekee univormunkantajasta univormun riivaamaan, vaikka hän ei koskaan ole ammatti-ihminen siviilien tarkoittamassa mielessä; ja näin on koska univormun kantaja syvästi tiedostaa että juuri hän parhaiten edustaa oman aikansa varsinaista elämänmuotoa ja siten myös turvaa oman elämänsä.”
Hermann Broch, The Sleepwalkers
“It is almost a matter of no account how far Marguerite will penetrate, whether she will ever be brought back or whether she will fall a prey to some wandering tramp—the sleepwalking of the infinite has seized upon her and never more will let her go.”
Hermann Broch, The Sleepwalkers
“Wer vermag fröhlicher zu sein als ein Kranker? nichts zwingt ihn, sich dem Lebenskampf zu stellen, es steht ihm sogar frei zu sterben. Er ist nicht gezwungen, aus den Ereignissen, die der Tag ihm zuträgt, induktive Schlüsse zu ziehen, um danach sein Verhalten einzurichten, er darf in sein eigenes Denken eingesponnen bleiben, - eingesponnen in die Autonomie seines Wissens, darf er deduktiv, darf er theologisch denken. Wer vermag fröhlicher zu sein als der, der seinen Glauben denken darf!”
Hermann Broch, The Sleepwalkers
“IN the year 1888 Herr von Pasenow was seventy, and there were people who felt an extraordinary and inexplicable repulsion when they saw him coming towards them in the streets of Berlin, indeed, who in their dislike of him actually maintained that he must be an evil old man. Small, but well”
Hermann Broch, The Sleepwalkers
“it is always he, unfortunate wretch, who assumes the rôle of executioner in the process of value-disintegration, and on the day when the trumpets of judgment sound it is the man released from all values who becomes the executioner of a world that has pronounced its own sentence.”
Hermann Broch, The Sleepwalkers
“Do thyself no harm! for we are all here!”
Hermann Broch, The Sleepwalkers
“Are we, then, insane because we have not gone mad?”
Hermann Broch, The Sleepwalkers
“Çünkü aslında hiçbir şey gelmiyordu şairin elinden, hiçbir kötülüğün ortadan kaldırılmasına yardımcı olamıyordu; yalnızca dünyayı ihtişama boğup yücelttiğinde kulak veriliyordu ona, yoksa olduğu haliyle anlattığında değil. Sadece yalan, ünün ta kendisiydi, yoksa bilgi değil”
Hermann Broch, The Death of Virgil
“It is as if Protestantism by clinging to the Scripture wished to preserve the last faint echoes of God’s Word in a world that has fallen silent, a world where only things speak dumbly, a world delivered over to the silence and ruthlessness of the Absolute, - and in his fear of God the Protestant has realized that it is his own goal before which he cowers. For in excluding all other values, in casting himself in the last resort on an autonomous religious experience, he has assumed a final abstraction of a logical rigour that urges him unambiguously to strip all sensory trappings from his faith, to empty it of all content but the naked Absolute, retaining nothing but the pure form, the pure, empty and neutral form of a 'religion in itself', a 'mysticism in itself'.”
Hermann Broch, The Sleepwalkers
“As she wanders along the river like this, one hand on her hip and the other clutching a mark to defray her expenses, she is in well-known country.”
Hermann Broch, The Sleepwalkers
“A man who sacrifices himself must be a decent chap.”
Hermann Broch, The Sleepwalkers
“Gürültüden kaçmak, kendini kitlenin uğultusuna, o bir yanardağınkini andıran, yeraltından gelen, hiç bitmeyecekmiş gibi aralıksız süren, tembel dalgalar halinde alana yayılan uğultuya kapamak için artık hayattan koparılırcasına alınıp götürülme düşüncesi, hiç kuşkusuz çekici gelen bir düşünceydi;”
Hermann Broch, The Death of Virgil
“(...) nicht nur daß für ihre gefinkelte Angst und ihr besserwisserisches Mißtrauen die Erkenntnis zu einer schieren Überflüssigkeit geworden ist, zu einem bloßen Wortschwindel, der weder Genuß noch Vorteil verschafft und überdies, drechselt man noch schlauere Worte, jederzeit übertölpelt werden kann, und nich nur daß hiedurch Liebe, Hilfe, Verständigung, Vertrauen, Sprache, eines das andere bedingend, zu einem leeren Nichts aufgelöst werden, und nicht nur daß infolgedessen die reine Abzählbarkeit allein noch als ein zuverlässiger Halt übrigzubleiben scheint, es ist ihnen auch dies noch nicht zuverlässig genug, und so leidenschaftlich sie sich dem Sesterzenzählen und der Sesterzenrechnerei ergeben haben, sie vermögen damit ihre Angst kaum mehr zu beruhigen, sie durchschauen auch dies noch als Windigkeit, und darob nahezu verzweifelt, fühlen sie sich in eine letzte, wenngleich noch immer witzig-wisserische, witzig-genießerische Selbstverspottung getrieben, lachensgeschüttelt, weil vor der innersten Angst nichts standhält und sogar das Ausrechenbare nicht eher als glaubwürdig und zuverlässig sich erweisen will, bevor man nicht unter Anwendung der passenden Zauberformel die Münze bespuckt hat; leichtgläubig dem Wunder gegenüber - im Grunde ihre menschlichste und immerhin freundlichste Eigenschaft - waren sie schwergläubig für die Wahrheit, und gerade das machte sie, die so überaus berechnend zu sein glaubten, völlig unberechenbar, machte ihre Angstversperrtheit schlechthin undurchschaubar und am Ende völlig unzugänglich.”
Hermann Broch
“The man who is thus outside the confines of every value-combination, and has become the exclusive representative of an individual value, is metaphysically an outcast, for his autonomy presupposes the resolution and disintegration of all system into its individual elements; such a man is liberated from values and from style, and can be influenced only by the irrational.”
Hermann Broch, The Sleepwalkers
“Children have a more restricted and yet a more intense feeling for nature than grown-ups.”
Hermann Broch, The Sleepwalkers


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