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The Sleepwalkers

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  854 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
With his epic trilogy, The Sleepwalkers, Hermann Broch established himself as one of the great innovators of modern literature, a visionary writer-philosopher the equal of James Joyce, Thomas Mann, or Robert Musil. Even as he grounded his narratives in the intimate daily life of Germany, Broch was identifying the oceanic changes that would shortly sweep that life into the ...more
ebook, 723 pages
Published July 20th 2011 by Vintage (first published 1932)
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Szplug
Nov 12, 2009 Szplug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hermann Broch is another of those early twentieth century Austro-Hungarian writers whose works I have discovered and devoured over the past decade. Though not as famous as Franz Kafka and Robert Musil, his work is right up there with them in its caliber and depth. His magnum opus was the stunning hallucinatory prose poem The Death of Virgil, but The Sleepwalkers—more in the vein of Musil's A Man Without Qualities—is another extraordinary work of art.

German language novels from the dawn of the mo
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Vit Babenco
Mar 09, 2015 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are some books that are not much read but nonetheless they serve as a kind of Bethlehem star for the whole literary movements and The Sleepwalkers is one of those.
“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 wit
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Michael
Feb 20, 2014 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yokozunas
I find the compartments that this trilogy is supposed to be fit into–The Romantic, The Anarchist, and The Realist–less worthy of mention than the inner insanity that Broch capably delineates through his three protagonists–Pasenow, Esch, and Huguenau. For me, the human commentary will always take precedence over the historical or social. It is the juxtaposition of that inner insanity with the yielded outer perspective, the surface that rest of the world is given to perceive, that makes one wonder ...more
Nick
Oct 30, 2010 Nick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hermann Broch was evidently a writer for the literary philosophers or philosophical literati of Central Europe. Hannah Arendt wrote an introduction for the translation I read, and Milan Kundera wrote an essay about him. "The Sleepwalkers" takes on the fragmentation of German culture between 1888 and 1918, with an middle act in 1903. The period is suspiciously close to the period of modern German monarchy, engineered by Bismarck in 1881 and dismantled by revolution in 1918 (Broch wrote the book b ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Apr 05, 2016 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, fiction, german
With brilliant characters and scenes that seem to fly right from the pages, The Sleepwalkers is a very original and interesting book.
James
Oct 22, 2009 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mitteleuropa, trilogy
This is the epitome of the "philosophical" novel. In the novel Broch explains the decline of values beginning with Joachim von Pasenow's hesitation between a lower-class mistress and a noble fiance in the first part. The story ends in Joachim's wedding night when both he and Elisabeth are afraid of a possible physical act of love and they finally find deliverance in his falling asleep.
Pasenow is sure of his virtues and their meaning. Esch too knows about such virtues as justice or fidelity but i
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GloriaA
May 01, 2013 GloriaA rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I sonnambuli, una vera e propria pietra miliare nell’ambito della letteratura europea di inizio secolo. Poco conosciuto al grande pubblico italiano, è un romanzo citato, ammirato, amato da diversi scrittori contemporanei, ma spazzato via dalla Storia, e che ora viene riproposto da Mimesis con una prefazione di Milan Kundera e una postfazione di Carlos Fuentes( e dico poco).
Trilogia ambiziosissima, definita dall’autore stesso “romanzo gnoseologico”, cioè “letteratura che si propone come mezzo di
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Temz
Mar 13, 2013 Temz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
,,Сомнамбулите‘‘ на Херман Брох ил преждевременното ми екстрадиране към безкрайността


Казват, че каквото сам си направиш, никой друг не може да ти го направи. И (за пръв път от много време) при последващ случай ще гласувам доверие на хората, макар и да не ми се случва често.
Преди една седмица по време на приятелска вечер с Милена от ,,Жанет 45‘‘ и Христо просто откраднах една книга. Точно това се случи – подадена от Милена към Христо, ,,Сомнамбулите‘‘ на Херман Брох, с адски добре издържана кори
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Cooper Renner
Feb 26, 2012 Cooper Renner rated it really liked it
Closer to 3.5 stars. I can't claim to have read every word of this lengthy three-part novel, but certainly I read almost all of it. In the third and longest section, Broch interweaves a series of chapters which are at heart theoretical philosophical discussions--the kind of thing that some readers love and which leaves me absolutely unable to keep my eyes on the page. Otherwise, book 3 is far and away the most direct and interesting part of the novel, a careful symphony of characters and lives r ...more
Torsten
Jul 31, 2015 Torsten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

I - ფონ პაზენოვი - რომანტიკა
II - ეში - ანარქია
III - ჰუგუენაუ - საქმოსნობა

სარჩევის გადახედვისთანავე გამიჩნდა აზრი, რომ საქმე თავისებურად ნიცშეანურ წიგნთან გვქონდა და ეს ხედვა ბოლოს უფრო განმიმტკიცდა, ოღონდ ერთი გამონაკლისით. ფონ პაზენოვი აქლემის მდგომარეობას ასახავს. ტრადიცია, სამხედრო უნიფორმა, რომელიც მისთვის ჯავშანია და იცავს, უბრალო, მაგრამ მტკიცე რელიგიური ხედვა, რომელიც მასში თანდათან უფრო ღრმავდება. მას ჰქონდა შანსი გათავისუფლების, მაგრამ ვერ ან არ გამოიყენა. თავისუფლებას, მისგან გამოწ
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Feliks
Writing this review already even though I am just a few pages in; but already I can tell this is going to be a fabulous read. The topics treated so far; and the refined, highly-polished prose...this looks like an extremely savory dish. The author has a voice very much like some of my favorite European writers: Thomas Mann and perhaps Stendhal. It's a novel of manners and psychology, a cultural history. Plus, the topic is Germany--the most savage, the most repulsive, the most fascinating of natio ...more
Alejandro Teruel
This is an extraordinary trilogy of novels written between 1928 and 1932 set in 1888 (“The Romantic”, 1903 (“The Anarchist”) and 1918 (“The Realist”). The trilogy is a profound and disquieting reflection on the dis-integration of values that ushers in the peculiarly logical but ultimately irrational and ferocious twentieth century value-systems. As the trilogy progresses it becomes increasingly complex and the third novel, with its trans-genre pastiche of fiction and philosophical essay, and to ...more
Michael David
Jan 09, 2015 Michael David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
‘Amid a blurring of all forms, in a twilight of apathetic uncertainty brooding over a ghostly world, man like a lost child gropes his way by the help of a small frail thread of logic through a dream landscape that he calls reality and that is nothing but a nightmare to him.’ (p. 373)


I read Joyce’s Ulysses a few years ago.

I was glad that I finished the damn thing, but was quite unimpressed. Was the towering novel of the modernist movement just about utter crap? I’ve read analyses of the nove
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Philip Thiel
Jul 22, 2013 Philip Thiel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the great pleasures and illusions of reading is being given words for what we already know. We reach the end of a paragraph so original it’s familiar, as if the writer were transcribing our own mind. “I’ve always known this,” we lie. In surrealism this effect is more rare. Waking as a cockroach isn’t familiar; nor is following a rabbit. And yet Hermann Broch – a writer as offbeat as Kafka and Carroll – somehow seems always to be telling the truth, even at his most uncanny. “And because ho ...more
Ana
Sep 06, 2013 Ana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life events had kept me from writing, but, as usual, it wasn't because I'd stopped reading. I'll start catching up with my reviews with one of the amazing books recommend by my favorite-amazing-writer, Milan Kundera.
The Sleepwalkers, by a guy called Hermann Broch (Austrian, I think), is not, really, a novel, but three: The Romantic, The Anarchist and the Realist. Written around the 1940s, the novels go through the end of the 1800s until 1918 (so WWI).
Understand that I am not a big fan of war boo
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Olga
Sep 28, 2013 Olga rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is interesting because modernity is interesting, which is what this book demonstrates. We start with a German military man, bound by traditiin and with little confusion about what he is meant to do... until globalizing elements intrude on his taken for granted reality. Then we have a pseudo anarchist, who desperately wants something to believe in but who secretly fears that all of it is a hoax and that only sensual pleasure and pain are reality. Last, we have a man who sees reality for ...more
Emily Grelle
May 14, 2016 Emily Grelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Love is an absolute thing, Elisabeth, and when the absolute tries to express itself in earthly terms, then it always turns into pathos, simply because it can’t be demonstrated. And as the whole thing then becomes so horribly earthly, the pathos is always very funny, represented by the gentleman who goes down on his knees to get you to accede to all his wishes; and if one loves you one must avoid that. “

Was his intention in saying this to intimate that he loved her? As he became silent she look
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Howard
Feb 07, 2015 Howard rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This a very long trilogy set in Germany in the periods 1890s, pre-WW1 1903 and WW1 end. It was written around the early 1930s. Each story has a different style; the first two looked like standard linear prose and the third (twice as long as the other two) was mixed episodic, parallel stories. The writing is highly regarded and akin with Mann’s Magic Mountain or similar.

The first book is about upper class Joachim von Pasenow who fancies a vibrant and characterful Czech prostitute Ruzena. But his
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Bill Wallace
Jul 28, 2016 Bill Wallace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the most articulate scream of despair about the first World War ever written, Broch's Sleepwalkers is a powerful, sometimes difficult book. Three related novels that culminate in a harrowing story set in 1919 not far behind the German trenches, The Sleepwalkers is less concerned with the details of the war and more with its effect on the collective psyche of Europe. Generally a study in the decay of values, from the relative "purity" of late 19th Century romanticism, albeit parodied, roo ...more
Kobe Bryant
Sep 13, 2013 Kobe Bryant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first two parts are pretty cool because theyre about these neurotic guys trying to get laid, but I dont even know what the third part is about. Goodreads staff please add 3 instead of 1 to my '2013 books read' because this is a trilogy
أحمد الحقيل
i can't understand why a great writer like Broch doesn't get the same recognition his contemporaries Mann or Hesse or even Musil got .

a great book .
Andy
Sep 26, 2008 Andy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I've heard the third part is amazing, but I barely made it through the first part and the second part...well...that's where I just had to stop.
Richard
Feb 10, 2009 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you try to bring down the exploitative capitalist economic system, you'll probably end up doing more harm than good.
J.M. Hushour
Yet again I encounter another self-assured "classic" that, for some reason or other when I was younger and perhaps stupider, I held in such high regard that I plopped it on my Favorites shelf (this is a real, wooden, if sodden, shelf, not an ethereal rectangle that an ethereal arrow cupids for me) and then left well enough alone.
Well, rereads can be painful, I confess. It isn't just that the book, like this one, held in high favor by luminaries such as Milan Kundera, is kind of terrible, it's pa
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Jesse Kraai
Sep 24, 2015 Jesse Kraai rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german
Let me start from page 500, where I stopped reading.
Broch has totally lost his path as a storyteller and has regressed into philosophical musings that have nothing to do with the story. The word 'ontisch' convinced me that I and the novel were both done.
The German novel has this problem, the need and/or temptation to 'say something.' Broch certainly fell to the temptation but I think it was because he didn't know how to finish his project.
The project is probably unrealizable: to talk about three
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Mateus Pereira
Mar 21, 2013 Mateus Pereira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"No ano de 1888, Herr Pasenow estava com setenta anos, e havia pessoas que experimentavam um estranho e inexplicável sentimento de aversão quando o viam se aproximar por alguma rua de Berlim e que em sua aversão até mesmo afirmavam que ele devia ser um homem velho e mal."

Com essas palavras Hermann Broch apresenta ao leitor o protagonista do primeiro volume de sua trilogia "Os sonâmbulos". O romance se passa na Prússia, entre Berlim e Stolpin. Joaquin Passenow, um velho tenente com característica
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Brent Hayward
I didn’t really see evidence of the whole grandpappy of postmodern writers in this book, certainly no Joyce or Musil, like it promised on the wrapper-- though honestly I only made it through the first and shortest novel of the trilogy. Maybe the second book ties in and riffs off the first and opens everything up metaphysically? Have to wait a bit to find out because I’m not prepared right now to follow up The Romantic for another fairly mean-spirited and facile cautionary tale. (An uptight offic ...more
Lawren Hyder
May 14, 2014 Lawren Hyder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Excerpted from the epic sex scene around p. 250
"[...] he flowed boundlessly into her, yearning to enter into her who was no longer a woman to him but a re-won heritage wrested from the unknown, the matrix of life, annihilating his ego by transcending its confines till it was featureless and submerged in its own enlargement."

David M
I read this after the Death of Virgil, and was a bit disappointed. While DoV is an explosion of radical freedom, the Sleepwalkers is a boring old novel.
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German ebook 2 4 Mar 21, 2014 04:12AM  
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Broch was born in Vienna to a prosperous Jewish family and worked for some time in his family's factory in Teesdorf, though he maintained his literary interests privately. He attended a technical college for textile manufacture and a spinning and weaving college. Later, in 1927, he sold the textile factory and decided to study mathematics, philosophy and psychology at the University of Vienna.

In
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“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.” 4 likes
“Are we, then, insane because we have not gone mad?” 2 likes
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