Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Il nipote di Wittgenstein

Rate this book
Paul Wittgenstein, nipote del filosofo «il cui Tractatus logico-philosophicus è ben noto in tutto il mondo scientifico e più ancora in tutto il mondo pseudoscientifico», fu per lunghi anni amico di Thomas Bernhard. Uomo sensibilissimo, inadatto al mondo, nutrito da una passione «esclusiva e spietata» per la musica, ma anche per l’automobilismo, dissipò con furia la sua fortuna sino a ridursi «per la maggior parte della sua vita» all’indigenza. «Partorito come un malato mentale», convisse con questa malattia «fino alla morte con la massima naturalezza, così come gli altri vivono senza una simile malattia mentale». Usava dire a Bernhard: «Duecento amici verranno al mio funerale e tu dovrai tenere un discorso sulla mia tomba». Quando Paul Wittgenstein morì, solo otto o nove persone andarono al suo funerale. In quel momento, Bernhard era a Creta. Ma, in certo modo, questo libro ha preso il posto di quel discorso che non venne mai pronunciato. Bernhard vi ha disegnato un ritratto delicato e terribile, spesso increspato da una selvaggia comicità. E insieme ha ritratto se stesso, come in un ulteriore frammento della sua autobiografia, sullo sfondo della Vienna inconsistente e ciarliera dei nostri anni. Agli estremi opposti dell’inermità e della forza, sussiste infatti una corrispondenza fra il narratore Bernhard e il suo amico, per lo meno nella «insana ferocia» nei confronti di se stessi «e di tutto». Corrispondenza che qui Bernhard spinge, come sempre, alle ultime conseguenze: «L’unica differenza tra Paul e me è che Paul si è lasciato completamente dominare dalla sua pazzia, si è calato, se così si può dire, nella sua pazzia e io invece no, io non mi sono mai lasciato dominare completamente dalla mia pazzia, peraltro non meno grande della sua; per tutta la vita io ho sfruttato la mia pazzia, l’ho dominata, al contrario di Paul che non ha mai dominato la sua pazzia io la mia pazzia l’ho sempre dominata e può darsi che proprio per questo motivo la mia pazzia sia perfino più pazza di quella di Paul». Il nipote di Wittgenstein è stato pubblicato nel 1982.

132 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1982

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Thomas Bernhard

291 books1,867 followers
Thomas Bernhard was an Austrian writer who ranks among the most distinguished German-speaking writers of the second half of the 20th century.

Although internationally he's most acclaimed because of his novels, he was also a prolific playwright. His characters are often at work on a lifetime and never-ending major project while they deal with themes such as suicide, madness and obsession, and, as Bernhard did, a love-hate relationship with Austria. His prose is tumultuous but sober at the same time, philosophic by turns, with a musical cadence and plenty of black humor.

He started publishing in the year 1963 with the novel Frost. His last published work, appearing in the year 1986, was Extinction. Some of his best-known works include The Loser (about a student's fictionalized relationship with the pianist Glenn Gould), Wittgenstein's Nephew, and Woodcutters.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,920 (36%)
4 stars
2,060 (38%)
3 stars
971 (18%)
2 stars
257 (4%)
1 star
79 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 532 reviews
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,400 reviews3,281 followers
February 27, 2021
Wittgenstein's Nephew is about friendship but in some strange way it reminded me of The Castle by Franz Kafka
Between a man and freedom there is always a wall of bureaucracy…
Paul’s mind quite simply exploded because he could not discard his intellectual fortune fast enough. In the same way Nietzsche’s mind exploded, just as all the other mad philosophical minds exploded, because they could no longer sustain the pace. Their intellectual fortune builds up at a faster and fiercer rate than they can discard it, then one day the mind explodes and they are dead.

“For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” Ecclesiastes 1:18
Profile Image for BlackOxford.
1,081 reviews68k followers
October 15, 2019
A Philosophy Of and For the Curmudgeon

A catalogue of pet-hates and prejudices masquerading as a memoir, Wittgenstein’s Nephew is a perennial rant of the old against not just the young but against the world in general. This is a world of unmet expectations, incivility, and bad taste. The only possible response to this world is a resigned snobbishness accompanied by the occasional whine of despair. Paul, the nephew of the philosopher, is simply a foil for presenting this as a philosophy rather than as merely an experience.

Paul and the author share much the same view. For example, Austrians are perfidious toads who appreciate nether art nor culture. Hospitals and the medical establishment exist to torture their patients using “the most inhuman, murderous, and deadly methods... Of all medical practitioners, psychiatrists [a Viennese creation] are the most incompetent, having a closer affinity to the sex killer than to their science.” The sick are in any case insufferable - when they are sick because they are inhuman and when they become well because they believe they should have human rights once again.

The world of course is in a constant state of deterioration for the old: “where the food has always been cheap but was still of excellent quality, as it no longer is.” Because the old see the world in the round, as it were, they have little trust in it, “being unable to contemplate the beauties of nature without at the same time contemplating its malignity and implacability, I fear it and avoid it whenever I can.” Only the old can appreciate the aversion to life produced by experience.

A certain cynicism and irrational obstinacy is therefore inevitable. Public recognition is simply receiving pearls from the swine to whom one has given them in the past: “For a prize is always awarded by incompetents who want to piss on the recipient.” The only thing that makes such recognition tolerable is the cash that comes with it, if it comes at all. But eventually even the cash doesn’t compensate for the debasement one suffers at the hands of the ignorant. Is it any wonder, therefore that one eventually becomes obsessed with trivial details: “I also realized at the time that no one with intellectual pretensions could possibly exist in a place where the ...Neue Zürcher Zeitung is unobtainable.” Survival consists of maintaining routine after all.

At bottom of course is not so much the certainty of impending death but the terrible, uncertain threat of living madness, largely self-induced: “I had behaved toward myself and everything else with the same unnatural ruthlessness that one day destroyed Paul and will one day destroy me. For just as Paul came to grief through his unhealthy overestimation of himself and the world, I too shall sooner or later come to grief through my own unhealthy overestimation of myself and the world.” The madness to be feared is precisely oneself.

There is something peculiarly Viennese about this impending madness for Bernhard and for Paul Wittgenstein. And it seems to affect intellectuals uniformly, “In the same way Nietzsche’s mind exploded, just as all the other mad philosophical minds exploded, because they could no longer sustain the pace. Their intellectual fortune builds up at a faster and fiercer rate than they can discard it, then one day the mind explodes and they are dead.” Or perhaps this is merely an example of languid Viennese sarcasm. The import is the same: one’s intellectual capacity simply and inevitably evaporates - a mental sterilisation far worse than the accompanying sexual decline.

In Wittgenstein’s Nephew, Bernhard shows himself a master of self-mockery: an entertaining tale of the old at their best and their worst. My wife thinks I should study it carefully.
Profile Image for Guille.
741 reviews1,446 followers
January 16, 2022

“Evitamos a los marcados por la muerte y también yo cedí a esa bajeza. En los últimos meses de su vida evité a mi amigo de una forma totalmente consciente, por un bajo instinto de conservación, lo que no me perdono.”
«El sobrino de Wittgenstein» es una novela triste, divertida, dura y maravillosa, desde ya una de mis preferidas del autor, un canto amargo a la amistad que, no obstante, no evita que, en el fondo, estemos solos, especialmente en la locura, en la enfermedad y en la muerte.
“… en el punto culminante de mi desesperación… apareció Paul.”
… Wittgenstein, Paul Wittgenstein ¿y quién fue Paul Wittgenstein? Un miembro de las familias austriacas de más rancio abolengo dedicada desde siempre a la fabricación de armas y máquinas y a la que Paul describía como un museo inagotable de curiosidades católico-judíonacionalsocialistas, pero que, como Bernhard dice socarronamente, también produjo a Ludwig y a Paul, su sobrino, que, según el autor, era un filósofo a la altura de su tío, aunque nada publicó ni se le llegó a conocer trabajo alguno; un experto musicólogo y amante de la ópera capaz de recorrer el mundo tras una cantante, piloto de carreras, asiduo de bares y cafés nocturnos de toda Europa, gran seductor y gigoló ocasional; un derrochador que “arrojó su dinero a los supuestamente miserables y dignos de compasión hasta que no tuvo nada” para luego malvivir bajo la miserable generosidad de su familia; un demente desde los 35 años y un gran amigo.

Su amistad se fundamentaba, gustos artísticos aparte, en las muchas obsesiones que compartían. Ninguno se soportaba a sí mismo ni al mundo y solo querían estar allá donde no estaban.
“…sólo sentado en el coche, entre el lugar que acabo de dejar y el otro al que me dirijo, soy feliz… soy el más infeliz de los recién llegados que puede imaginarse, llegue adonde llegue, en cuanto llego, soy infeliz. Soy de esas personas que, en el fondo, no soportan ningún lugar del mundo y sólo son felices entre los lugares de donde se marchan o a los que van.”
Ambos se enfrentaron a su entorno y fueron derribados; ambos estaban enfermos, ambos poseían una “riqueza mental” que les superaba y aislaba; a ambos les gustaba sentarse en los cafés a contemplar a la gente que por allí pasaba y acusarles de los más ridículos delitos, acusaban al mundo entero y lo acusaban a fondo; también esas gentes que pasaban podían ser de lo más sugerentes:
“… no era raro que fuera sencillamente una persona totalmente corriente, que bebía su café, la que nos llevara a Schopenhauer, o que una señora que devoraba grandes pedazos de pastel de hojaldre con su mal educado nieto, por ejemplo, nos hiciera convertir a los bufones de Velázquez del Prado en centro de una conversación que, llegado el caso, podía durar horas.”
Los dos tenían la “enfermedad de la enumeración” que, por ejemplo, mientras viajaban en tranvía les obligaba a contar de forma compulsiva las ventanas o las puertas que iban viendo. También compartían la obsesión de no pisar las baldosas sobre las que caminaban si no era mediante un sistema previamente establecido e imposible de transgredir.
“He odiado siempre los cafés vieneses y he entrado una y otra vez en esos cafés vieneses odiados por mí, los he visitado a diario, porque, aunque siempre he odiado los cafés vieneses, y precisamente porque los he odiado siempre, he sufrido siempre en Viena la enfermedad del habitual del café, y he padecido esa enfermedad del habitual del café más que cualquier otra. Y, para ser sincero, todavía hoy padezco esa enfermedad del habitual del café, porque se ha descubierto que esa enfermedad del habitual del café es la más incurable de todas mis enfermedades.”
Paul salvó a Thomas de sí mismo y del mundo literario, “el más abominable de todos los mundos”; uno de los pocos que se atrevía a decirle siempre la verdad y que permaneció a su lado durante la escandalosa entrega del premio nacional de literatura, uno de los pasajes más hilarantes de la novela junto a la búsqueda infructuosa que ambos realizaron de una revista que contenía un artículo sobre Mozart que sintieron la necesidad imperiosa de leer y para lo cual recorrieron más de 350 km entre distintos destinos, o como la ceremonia de concesión del premio Grillparze.
“…un premio se lo entregan a uno siempre sólo personas incompetentes, que quieren defecar en la cabeza de uno y que defecan abundantemente en la cabeza de uno si se acepta su premio. Y están en su perfecto derecho de defecar en la cabeza de uno, que es tan abyecto y tan bajo como para aceptar su premio.”
Y sin embargo, se fue alejando de su amigo con los años, carecía del valor para visitarlo en su cercanía a la muerte, de la misma forma que evitaba la naturaleza en la que siempre veía la maldad e implacabilidad con su propio cuerpo y su propia alma, de la misma forma en la que rehusaba estar con sus iguales porque era como estar consigo mismo, al que no soportaba.
“Doscientos amigos asistirán a mi entierro y tú tendrás que pronunciar un discurso ante mi tumba.”
Valga la novela como el discurso que nunca pronunció en el entierro de su amigo, al que únicamente asistieron ocho o nueve personas y ninguna de ellas fue Thomas Bernhard.
Profile Image for İntellecta.
198 reviews1,531 followers
June 10, 2018
Whom Bernhard has met so far only as a radical exaggeration artist or misanthrope, he shows himself here a little differently :)) Quote from Marcel Reich-Ranicki "Thomas Bernhard has never philanthropic "never written more tenderly", for me personally is Thomas Bernhard's sentence constructions, narrative style and his language unique.
Profile Image for Steven Godin.
2,321 reviews2,196 followers
September 19, 2018
Damn, I was hoping to drag this out for as long as possible, but how does one drag out a book with only a hundred pages and no paragraphs?. Added to the fact it was just so darn good. It would have been like trying to stop an Olympic Skier flying down a mountain. So Stuff it, I thought, I will rip through this in no time, stop for a coffee, and read it again. Before deciding which of his books I will order next whilst scurrying around in a cold sweat. Yes, it's safe to say Mr. Bernhard has left a deep impression on me. It was like climbing into his head. And wandering through the hospital ward of his mind.

In a nutshell, the short novel, which is very autobiographical in nature - a writer, not unlike Bernhard himself, and the brilliant but troubled....no, not troubled, more like mad nephew of the philosopher Wittgenstein are confined to beds in the same hospital, the narrator in the pulmonary ward and Paul Wittgenstein in the asylum. Both are plagued with terminal thoughts about the fears and doubts associated with the nature of life. Acquaintances beforehand, they reach out to bond and build a friendship based on mutual support and respect that somehow thrives in this bleak and hopeless environment of the sick and the dying.

Bernhard's style relies on ponderous repetition of words and ideas, that felt like an off key musical composition with maddeningly convoluted sentences that tend to numb the mind. That's a compliment, not a criticism. Thomas Bernhard was simply a wonderful wordsmith, he weaves his story in riffs, and the most surreal, darkly funny, and daringly provocative of tapestries. The author discourses a lot about health and mortality. He had lived his life near death for a long time and compares death of the body to death of the spirit or mind. He resents healthy people who he feels are hypocrites and truly hate sick people. I get the feeling Bernhard wrote this as a sort of way to seek forgiveness for the fact he abandoned his friend towards the end of his life.

With a chronically diseased body, he looked existence in the eye and declared it a farce, and this slender offering is a justification that both he and Paul developed their lives in the face of death and madness, year after year, and are necessarily different from healthy people, who may lack the capacity to share their feelings properly. A compressed work of utter brilliance.
Profile Image for William2.
737 reviews2,883 followers
April 14, 2014
A highly readable work of dazzling intensity. The novella is based in part on a true story: author Bernhard's friendship with philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein's grand nephew, Paul. Prepare yourself for a blast of intellectually dense but very compelling--and funny--writing. The book is at bottom a great howl of rage against death. Bernhard in his day (1931-1989) was perhaps Austria's most controversial novelist/playwright. The narrator, based on Bernhard, and his familiar, Paul Wittgenstein, share a rare friendship. They're the sort of people who laugh at others in public places out of a false sense of superiority. They are compassion-free. Neither ever transcends his own boyish rage. Bernhard, in fact, made his name on his rage. Paul Wittgenstein's rage, by contrast, turned to madness.

We start with the Bernhard character lying in the lung ward of a Vienna hospital, the Wilhelminenberg. Here he begins the tale of his friendship with Paul. Bernhard is in the lung ward, and Paul is in the mental health ward. They have astonishingly similar tastes. They both love philosophy and music. Paul, like his famous relation, is from a family of mercantilists (munitions, I think). And Bernhard does his best to paint them as philistines, notoriously hostile to art and culture. Paul, like Ludwig, must reject his family if he is to survive. For the first half of his life, he is fabulously rich and travels widely. Then he exhausts his pile and must live like a pauper for the rest of his days. He's in and out of the Wilhelminenberg mental facility every six months. There he receives shock treatments and is locked into a cage that surrounds his bed. Bernhard describes Paul's treatments as a kind of breaking of his spirit. Once his spirit is broken and his weight dramatically down he is released. Then the cycle starts over again.

But wait--it occurs to me now that I was not really precise in saying that the two friends are compassion-free. Certainly, based on this brief text, it can be said that the two main characters' friendship, no doubt intellectually rich, was floated upon a certain cynical rage and hatred of others. Wittgenstein's Nephew by contrast is an exercise--albeit a tardy one--in compassion. Bernhard has written this tribute to his friend in which he excoriates himself for abandoning Paul during his final sad days. But he could not, being an invalid himself, meet death face on. He was too afraid. He admits his cowardice. So Wittgenstein's Nephew is Bernhard's apologia. He wants us to know who his friend was and how he failed him. He is nothing if not painfully honest. A wrenching but enthralling novella.
August 17, 2022
An earlier yet unmistakably Bernhardian narrative, Wittgenstein's Nephew: A Friendship chronicles Bernhard's idea-and-experience of his peculiar, equally disease-stricken, and intimate friend: the 'full of madness and wit' Paul Wittgenstein, also known to him as Herr Baron and, of course, as the nephew of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.

This is certainly a narrative of extremity which sees both vision and sentence surrendering to a mirror-like lateral inversion. A Bernhard reader is amply acquainted with its manners, and also masterfully trained -- perhaps through readings of Concrete or The Loser -- in enduring its collaterals. As is thus reasonable to anticipate with Bernhard, sharp lucidity and deep-rooted madness mutually inhabit -- overlapping -- the 100-page overflow of this tirade-memoir. Life-Death, Love-Hate, Health-Sickness and their unyielding entanglement seal the Bernhardness of this text, as does the underscored aversion to anything middling or in between. Beyond the undeniably elitist and misanthropic temperament of his writing, and beyond his unforgiving gaze, Bernhard observes and penetrates the grotesque quality of human existence, thus also revealing via his desecrating voice the absurdity and darkly comical essence of selfhood. Imagine him -- an easy task, for Bernhard enthusiasts -- declaring 'miserable shitspots' all those places that fail to distribute the magazine of his liking, and denouncing all things Viennese -- and literary! -- as repulsive garbage. With that exasperated grin on your face, consider the extent to which his writing is fundamentally frank to the point of follia, both offensive as well as unmatched in its intense insightfulness; ultimately and also, a biting-but-bare presentation of the pathetic yet tender tragedy of being.

With passion = disease as the explicitly obsessive motto of this narrative and others -- or all works -- by Bernhard, what he explores to the point of (self-)saturation is the space for possibility or possible spaces carved out by writing. Moreover, Bernhard seems to be contemplating whether writing slash existing is about being or different modes of doing, and whether these are actually separable. 'And where is the distinction', he asks, 'between a brain that is published and constantly publishing itself and a brain that is constantly putting itself into practice?' Imposing seemingly absurd routines and mechanisms, in their practical manifestation, is a trait shared by both Bernhard and Paul, with the former -- however -- compulsively and religiously veering away from death, even as it constitutes that which by opposing means defines the lifeness of his existence. While recounting their parallel stays at the Ludwig Pavillion (home to patients with madness disease) and the Hermann Pavillion (home to those with lung disease) but also by accumulating moments of Paul's mounting deathness, Bernhard reveals his tendency to project paranoia of sickness and decay, resorting -- several times, on the very same page, and with forceful echoes throughout the narrative -- to the phrases 'so-called disease' or 'at diminishing intervals'. Because life is glimpsed through its inexorable deathness; it is the curious(ly crumbling) counterpoint of 'the mark of death' that is inscribed in humankind.

And yet the key to surviving is that very structural compulsion. As Ben Lerner notes, in his Afterword to the Faber and Faber 2019 edition of the text, Bernhard's writing 'catalyse[s] an experience of structure': 'that Bernhard will repudiate it in the next sentence makes it no less real'. Indeed, the Zeno-paradoxes inertia corresponds to Bernhardian burst of energy at its most (seemingly non-)experiential. With Kafka contradiction and Beckettian absurdity framing it in important ways, Wittgenstein's Nephew moves in the direction of Bernhard's obsession with the shameful, wretched, and hilariously deplorable workings of human nature, whilst consistently insisting on handling its concrete object -- Paul, in this case -- with a unique share and mode of attention made available by writing. It is perhaps more skeletal in form -- at times revealing the spaces to be later galvanised and enhanced by perfected, structural sophistication -- but it is...Bernhard.
Profile Image for Agnieszka.
258 reviews919 followers
February 9, 2023

Wittgenstein’s Nephew is a thing about Paul, nephew of a great though rather dismissed in native country philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein; is a thing about illness and falling into madness ; at last is a thing about dying and death. But most of all Wittgenstein’s Nephew is a thing about friendship and its nature.

In 1967, at the same time though in two separated wings of hospital, resides our narrator ( due to lungs disease ) whilst his friend Paul Wittgenstein is under psychiatric care. From Bernhard’s writing slowly unfolds story of their friendship, the first meeting, mutual interests in music and opera, similar sense of humour, the same aversion to the country and love to the city when I am in the country, bereft of mental stimulus, my thinking atrophies, because my whole mind atrophies , but nothing so calamitous ever happens to me in the city , adhering to peculiar custom sitting in famous Viennese cafes and ridiculing behaviours and flaws of other clients since most of the minds we associate with are housed in heads that have little more to offer than overgrown potatoes , sharing some restless soul that forced them to live constantly on the move, toing and froing, still escaping from one place to another.

Of course Thomas Bernhard would not have been himself if in this slim novella, in own unique style, dripping with black humour, full of meandering and repetitive phrases, obsessive and spiteful comments, had not taken own compatriots ‘ ignorance and stupidity apart. There is any sacred cow for him, no one is to escape his sarcasm and derision, no matter ministers stupidity was written all over his face, as it is over the faces of all ministers without exception or actors from famous Burgtheater the world’s first theatrical whorehouse , treats them all with equal spitefulness and acerbity.

Friendship is a gift, a rare thing that we still have to care and that way novel reads as a praise and hymn to it. Each one of us has own definition of friendship, when we’re saying friend we may see someone we'd like to share secrets, thoughts and interests while for others friend means someone with whom we may remain silent not feeling any awkwardness, any need to talking. But sometimes that bond is too fragile and we ourselves too weak and unreliable to remain faithful to that feeling. And with this writing Bernhard pays delayed homage to his eccentric friend, for own reluctance and cowardice in the hour of trial.
Profile Image for Emilio Berra.
225 reviews175 followers
March 11, 2019
Storia di un'amicizia

Uno dei libri della piena maturità di T. Bernhard.
E' la storia di un'amicizia maschile tra il narratore e Paul, appunto il nipote del celebre filosofo Wittgenstein. Un testo molto bello che, man mano che procede, coinvolge sempre più il lettore.
La musica appassiona entrambi. Una vena di follia li accomuna.

Paul passò da una ricchezza rilevante a una dignitosa povertà. Della propria famiglia, "aveva sempre detto che era una famiglia nemica dell'arte e dello spirito, e soffocata dai suoi stessi milioni". Lui e il famoso zio erano pertanto guardati con imbarazzo.
Il narratore prova grande ammirazione per l'amico : "in tutta la mia vita non avevo mai conosciuto un essere umano che possedesse un'acuta capacità di osservazione e una più grande ricchezza intellettuale". "Quando sentivo che in me tutto era morto o quasi, una visita a Paul era sempre bastata per ridare la vita (...) al mio pensiero musicale". "L'unica differenza tra Paul e me è che Paul si è lasciato 'completamente' dominare dalla sua pazzia (...), io non mi sono mai lasciato dominare dalla mia pazzia, peraltro non meno grande della sua".

L'io narrante, con sguardo leale e impietoso soprattutto verso se stesso, continua a parlare anche di sé, con franchezza e senza autogiustificazioni ; anzi rappresentandosi con inusuale severità.
Profile Image for Javier (off for a while).
215 reviews143 followers
June 9, 2022
Volver a Thomas Bernhard con Wittgenstein’s Nephew después de tantos años de haber leído algunos de sus títulos más “profundos” ha sido como volver a visitar a ese tío abuelo terrible que de niño te imponía tanto respeto que casi daba miedo para encontrarlo ahora convertido en un viejecito que resulta hasta entrañable de puro gruñón.
En realidad, esta no es más que una impresión personal causada por el orden en que he leído sus libros. Bernhard escribió Wittgenstein’s Nephew siete años antes de fallecer con solo 58 años. Durante ese tiempo todavía habría de publicar algunos de sus mejores títulos, incluyendo cinco novelas y una obra de teatro. Sin embargo, para mí, Wittgenstein’s Nephew tiene un cierto aire de despedida; su gran amigo Paul Wittgenstein acaba de morir, los problemas de salud de Bernhard no dejan de empeorar, a su Lebensmensch, Hedwig Stavianicek, no le queda mucho tiempo… debió ser sin duda un momento difícil para el autor, en el que ya presentía su propio final, y eso se deja ver en las páginas de este libro.
Novelas como El malogrado o Maestros antiguos son auténticos hitos de la literatura europea de la segunda mitad del siglo XX, pero no dejan de ser obras difíciles y sombrías, no aptas para cualquier estado de ánimo. En Wittgenstein’s Nephew, a pesar ser un texto dedicado a la memoria de su difunto amigo Paul—o quizá precisamente por eso—, Bernhard adopta un tono algo más cercano, incluso más ligero. No es que vaya a ser tan frívolo como para usar puntos y aparte; eso sería pedirle demasiado. Pero al menos sí que relaja su típico estilo de frases interminables y repeticiones machaconas. A fin de cuentas, se trata de recordar a un amigo entrañable y rendir homenaje a la grandeza que muy poca gente supo reconocerle en vida.
Si Bernhard fue un personaje singular (léase difícil), Paul Wittgenstein, sobrino del famoso filósofo Ludwig Wittgenstein, parece que lo fue aún más. Poseedor, según Bernhard, de una filosofía tanto o más profunda que la del autor del Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus , fue uno de los locos más populares de la Austria de postguerra.
For a whole century the Wittgensteins had produced weapons and machines, until finally they produced Ludwig and Paul—the famous, epoch-making philosopher and the madman who, in Vienna at least, was equally famous and possibly more so. Paul the madman was just as philosophical as his uncle Ludwig, while Ludwig the philosopher was just as mad as his nephew Paul. Ludwig became famous through his philosophy, Paul through his madness. The one was possibly more philosophical, the other possibly more mad. But it may well be that the philosophical Wittgenstein is regarded as a philosopher merely because he set his philosophy down on paper and not his madness, and that Paul is regarded as a madman because he suppressed his philosophy instead of publishing it, and displayed only his madness.

Además de la locura y la filosofía, Paul poseía muchos otros talentos. Amante de la ópera, en las noches de estreno el público de la Staatsoper esperaba su despiadado veredicto—ruidosos pitos o aplausos, más relacionados con su estado de ánimo que con la calidad de la actuación—antes de decidir si a ellos mismos les había gustado o no. Dilapidó su parte de la fortuna familiar en yates y carreras de coches, en champán y lujo, pero también en beneficencia. Al final, ya arruinado, seguía siendo el hombre más elegante de Viena.
The trouble with Paul was that he was as profligate with his intellectual fortune as he was with his financial fortune, but his intellect, unlike his finances, was inexhaustible. He never ceased to throw it out of the window, yet it never ceased to grow; the more he threw it out of the window, the more it grew. It is characteristic of people like Paul, who are at first merely crazy and are finally pronounced insane, that their intellectual fortune increases as fast as they throw it out of the window (of the mind). As they throw more and more of it out of the window, it goes on building up in the mind and naturally becomes more and more dangerous. Eventually they cannot keep up the pace, with the result that the mind can no longer endure the buildup and finally explodes.

En contra de la opinión de Bernhard, parece que su prodigalidad intelectual también terminó por pasarle factura. Paul, que había frecuentado los restaurantes más lujosos y los palcos más exclusivos del mundo terminó siendo un habitual de distintas instituciones mentales que probablemente contribuyeron más a su locura que sus propios desvaríos.
La enfermedad es otro de los temas presentes en Wittgenstein’s Nephew. Desde las primeras páginas, con ambos amigos ingresados al mismo tiempo en distintos pabellones del mismo hospital, trazando planes para escapar de sus respectivas salas y poder verse, hasta la muerte de Paul, Bernhard diserta una y otra vez sobre la salud y su ausencia. No solo sobre la forma en la que la enfermedad afecta al cuerpo, también a la mente, a las relaciones con otros.
The healthy have never had patience with the sick, nor, of course, have the sick ever had patience with the healthy. This fact must not be forgotten. For naturally the sick make far greater demands than the healthy, who, being healthy, have no need to make such demands. The sick do not understand the healthy and the healthy do not understand the sick. This conflict often proves fatal, because ultimately the sick cannot cope with it, and the healthy naturally cannot cope with it either, with the result that they often become sick themselves.

Bernhard no puede evitar ser Bernhard y, aunque comience rindiendo un sincero y sentido homenaje a su amigo, termina volviendo una y otra vez a sus temas preferidos: criticar lo ignorantes y miserables que son sus compatriotas y hablar de él mismo.
For let us not deceive ourselves: most of the minds we associate with are housed in heads that have little more to offer than overgrown potatoes, stuck on top of whining and tastelessly clad bodies and eking out a pathetic existence that does not even merit our pity.

Para Bernhard no existe el compromiso o el punto medio. Según él, Austria es el país más zafio del mundo, los actores conspiran con el público para hundir sus obras y los médicos que le tratan no son más que son carniceros.
From my early youth I have regarded the ability to read English and French books and newspapers as the greatest advantage I possess. What would my world be like, I often wonder, if I had to rely on the German papers, which are for the most part little more than garbage sheets—to say nothing of the Austrian newspapers, which are not newspapers at all but mass-circulation issues of unusable toilet paper?

Paul mantenía posiciones igual de extremas, y en muchas ocasiones opuestas a las de Bernhard. ¡Sus conversaciones en la terraza de Sacher, criticando a todo el que se pusiera a su alcance, probablemente merecerían otro libro!
Además de ser una figura en sí mismo, Paul tuvo una gran influencia en Bernhard. Pero no fue una relación fácil, como es de esperar entre individuos con semejante talento y la cabeza no del todo bien amueblada: fue una amistad trabajosa, que había de volver a ganarse cada día.
Aun así, su vínculo se mantuvo vivo durante años y sobrevivió a las diferencias de opinión, a la distancia, a los problemas de salud y los económicos. Pero entre las demostraciones del más profundo amor y admiración hacia su amigo Paul y los arrebatos de indignación y rabia contra el resto del mundo, Bernhard deja escapar una confesión estremecedora: es consciente de que, a medida que la condición de Paul se deterioraba, él, incapaz de enfrentarse con el declive físico e intelectual y la eventual muerte de su amigo, terminó por darle de lado. La excusa, la misma que usaríamos cualquiera de nosotros; el deseo de conservar en la memoria la imagen intacta del amigo en su momento de mayor esplendor. La verdadera razón es el más humano de los motivos: cobardía, miedo a la muerte, vergüenza…
Quizá sea ese el motivo porque Bernhard nunca tuvo problema en ser despiadado con el resto del mundo; siempre reservó la crítica más dura para él mismo.
Profile Image for zumurruddu.
127 reviews101 followers
April 28, 2018
“Già non sopporto me stesso, figuriamoci un’orda di persone come me che passano il loro tempo a spremersi il cervello e a scrivere”

Quello che mi piace in Bernhard, quello che mi fa bene quando lo leggo è che le sue parole, ogni sua singola parola, e ogni sua ripetizione di quella parola (che non è mai e poi mai di troppo!), dicevo, tutte le sue parole e suoi pensieri sono un sacrosanto e disperato attacco frontale contro l’ipocrisia, tutti i tipi di ipocrisia, un attacco portato, come è naturale, alle sue estreme conseguenze.
I suoi risultati migliori li ottiene, a mio parere, quando le sue invettive diventano più che mai estreme e iperboliche, quando la sua arte dell’esagerazione riesce a strappare un riso assurdo, quando riesce a ottenere quello che si può chiamare soltanto “umorismo bernhardiano” perché non vi è nessun’altra definizione disponibile, perché nessuno mai avrebbe pensato di ridere quando tutto viene dipinto come micidiale, ripugnante, vergognoso e deprimente.
Queste invettive hanno su di me un potere pacificante e liberatorio, nonostante l’esagerazione, anzi proprio per la loro manifesta esagerazione, proprio perché so che non sono da prendere alla lettera. Le ripetizioni ossessive e martellanti contengono l’esatta dose di rabbia e livore necessari per esorcizzare quelli che covano dentro di me. Ecco un esempio, scusate la lunghezza dell’estratto:

“Questa cosiddetta malattia mentale, che non è mai stata classificata con esattezza, era presente in Paul sin dall’infanzia. Già il neonato Paul era stato partorito come un malato mentale, con quella cosiddetta malattia mentale che lo ha poi dominato vita natural durante. Con questa sua cosiddetta malattia mentale Paul è vissuto fino alla morte con la massima naturalezza, così come gli altri vivono senza una simile malattia mentale. In relazione a questa sua cosiddetta malattia mentale, ci sono state testimonianze quanto mai deprimenti della sprovvedutezza dei medici e della scienza medica nel suo insieme. Questa sprovvedutezza dei medici e della loro scienza ha dato di questa cosiddetta malattia mentale di Paul le più diverse e allarmanti definizioni, ma mai quella giusta, naturalmente, perché nella sua dissennatezza la scienza medica non è stata in grado di farlo, e tutte le definizioni che di continuo la scienza medica ha dato riguardo a questa malattia mentale del mio amico si sono rivelate sbagliate o addirittura assurde, e di continuo una definizione smentiva l’altra nella maniera più vergognosa e al tempo stesso più deprimente. I cosiddetti psichiatri definivano la malattia del mio amico ora in un modo ora in un altro, senza mai avere il coraggio di ammettere che per questa, come per tutte le altre malattie, non esiste una definizione giusta, ma sempre e soltanto definizioni sbagliate, sempre e soltanto definizioni fuorvianti, perché gli psichiatri in definitiva, come tutti gli altri medici del resto, usano di continuo le loro definizioni cliniche sbagliate per rendersi più facile la vita, e insomma, da delinquenti quali sono, per dormire tra due guanciali. Ogni momento dicevano la parola maniaco e ogni momento la parola depressivo, e immancabilmente si trattava della parola sbagliata. Ogni momento (come tutti gli altri medici) cercavano riparo in un nuovo termine scientifico per proteggere e tutelare se stessi (ma non certo i pazienti!). Come tutti gli altri medici, anche gli psichiatri che avevano in cura Paul si trinceravano dietro il latino che a poco a poco diventava un baluardo invalicabile e impenetrabile che essi erigevano, come da secoli i loro predecessori, tra sé e i pazienti con l’intento esclusivo di camuffare la propria incompetenza e avvolgere in cortine fumogene la propria cialtroneria. Come muraglia in effetti invisibile ma più che mai impenetrabile, essi mettevano il latino tra sé e le loro vittime già all’inizio del trattamento, i cui metodi, come sappiamo, sono sempre e comunque disumani, criminosi e micidiali. Lo psichiatra è il più incompetente di tutti i medici e in ogni caso è più attirato dallo stupro che dalla scienza. Di niente in vita mia ho avuto più paura che di cadere in mano agli psichiatri, al cui confronto tutti gli altri medici, che pure in ultima analisi altro non portano se non sciagure, sono comunque assai meno pericolosi, perché nella nostra società gli psichiatri si sentono ancora molto solidali tra loro e quindi investiti di una sorta di immunità, e siccome io ho avuto l’opportunità di studiare per moltissimi anni i metodi terapeutici da loro adottati con totale assenza di scrupoli sul mio amico Paul, il timore che già prima nutrivo nei loro confronti è diventato un timore ancora più intenso. Gli psichiatri sono i veri e propri demoni della nostra epoca.”

Questo “Nipote di Wittgenstein”, nella sua brevità, l’ho trovata un’opera quanto mai compiuta e riuscita.
Sembra incredibile, ma vi assicuro, parla di amicizia. Di come l’amicizia possa arricchire l’esistenza e rendere la vita degna di essere vissuta, anche quando tutto è disperazione e malattia. Ma non aspettatevi retorica e buoni sentimenti: ve l’ho detto, qui per l’ipocrisia non ce n’è.
Profile Image for Lisa.
974 reviews3,328 followers
August 15, 2019
When stress punches you in the stomach with a force that takes your breath (yes, I know, school has just only started for teachers and the kids won't be in until next week, but scheduling is a brutal hellish device that creates an immediate sense of evil foreboding and looming mortality and exhaustion), it is almost impossible to read coherently for pleasure. Unfortunately, my main source of detox and soothing is reading, so that is a bit of a Catch-22.

But there is one exception to the "too-much-stress-no-literacy" syndrome: I can read Thomas Bernhard's dark reflections any time, and preferably when struck by a severe case of "stress-by-foreboding". There is something incredibly reassuring in opening one of his books and realising that whatever you call this malaise, he has a stronger version of it, and he is able to put it into brilliantly rantish German.

To Thomas Bernhard - for he proves that pessimism is relative.
Profile Image for Patrizia.
506 reviews135 followers
February 10, 2019
Storia di un’amicizia durata dodici anni, quella tra Paul Wittgenstein e Thomas Bernhard.
Un’amicizia tutt’altro che facile, l’incontro tra due menti geniali, accomunate da tante passioni e divise da altrettanti elementi. Un’amicizia con alti e bassi, fatta di ostinazione, che

“tutto il tempo abbiamo dovuto elaborare con grande fatica sì da poterla conservare nella maniera più utile e vantaggiosa per entrambi, trattandola costantemente con estrema cautela e non dimenticando mai la sua grande fragilità”.

Con la sua prosa ossessiva, in cui i pensieri si compongono a spirale, ripetuti, analizzati fino allo spasimo, Bernhard ha creato un grande monologo, ripercorrendo i dodici anni di discorsi, serate al caffè, viaggi, osservazioni con Paul Wittgenstein.
La malattia nello stesso ospedale, un problema polmonare per lui, la pazzia che richiedeva sempre più frequenti ricoveri di Paul. La morte, che sembrava segnare Paul fin dal primo incontro, quel destino comune a tutti gli uomini, di cui Paul sembrava l’incarnazione vivente.
Bernhard rivive il decadimento dell’amico, quel suo invecchiare rapidamente, l’aggravarsi della follia, la solitudine finale.

“Negli ultimi mesi della sua vita il signor barone non era ormai che l’ombra di se stesso, come si suol dire, e da quest’ombra, che sempre più assumeva sembianze spettrali, tutti si tenevano sempre più alla larga. E neanch’io, com’è ovvio, avevo con l’ombra di Paul lo stesso rapporto che avevo avuto con Paul in passato. Non ci vedevamo quasi più, noi due, i nostri appuntamenti si erano assai diradati, non foss’altro perché spesso passavano giorni e giorni senza che lui uscisse dal suo appartamento della Stallburggasse”.

Il senso di colpa per non avergli più voluto parlare trova giustificazione nella paura della morte

“Noi evitiamo gli uomini segnati dalla morte e anch’io ho ceduto a questa infamia. Durante gli ultimi mesi della sua vita, ho consapevolmente evitato il mio amico per ubbidire a un basso istinto di autoconservazione, e questo non me lo perdono”.

Diventa allo stesso tempo il senso di colpa del sopravvissuto in una stupenda analisi del suo ritrarsi di fronte alla vista dell’amico ormai incapace di parlare e con la mente ottenebrata da un ultimo fatale attacco di follia

“non so se a trattenermi sia stata la mia paura di lui che era ormai diventato la morte stessa, o la mia sensazione di dovergli risparmiare l’incontro con me, io che a quel tratto non ero ancora giunto, probabilmente entrambe le cose”.

Paul aveva predetto che

“Duecento amici verranno al mio funerale e tu dovrai tenere un discorso sulla mia tomba, mi disse Paul. Ma al suo funerale non vennero più di otto o nove persone, come so, e io stesso in quel momento mi trovavo a Creta”.

Dodici anni di amicizia sepolti in un cimitero di Vienna e la dura confessione di Bernhard

“Ancora non sono stato a visitare la sua tomba.”
Profile Image for Fatma Al Zahraa Yehia.
415 reviews448 followers
January 24, 2023
تميز الجزء الأول من الكتاب بتفرد وصف الاستسلام اللامبالي لمأساة مرضِ طال زمنه. مع امتداد أزمنة المعاناة، تصبح الشكوى عبثُ لا طائل له. لا يضيع الكاتب وقته في النواح والتشكي، بل يكتفي بملاحظة الجانب المضحك المبكي من مأساة مرضه.

أثار تعجبي كم التكرار الذي استخدمه الكاتب للتعبير بنفس العبارات أو تكرار نفس الفكرة بجمل مختلفة. وتخليت في البداية-لعدم سابق معرفتي بالكاتب-أن من كتب تلك الكتاب هو مجرد "مدون" يكتب بشكل عفوي وليس كاتب مسرحي مخضرم مثلما عرفت فيما بعد.

كنت أتمنى أن أعرف جذور وأصل ذلك "الازدراء" العميق الذي يكنه توماس برنهارد للريف. وإن كنت قد أحسست-وقد أكون مخطئة بالطبع-بأن لذلك الكاتب شخصية نرجسية شديدة التمركز حول ذاتها. لمست ذلك أيضا من إهماله القاسي لصديق عمره عند اقترابه من الموت.
Profile Image for Cosimo.
409 reviews
July 30, 2018
Come cerchi cosa cerchi

“Noi evitiamo gli uomini segnati dalla morte e anche io ho ceduto a questa infamia”.

Il romanzo narra la crescita di una malinconica e passionale amicizia tra due eccentrici e ossessivi personaggi che amano la musica, perseverano in una onestà brutale e sono tormentati da un nauseante disgusto per la borghesia viennese. Sono ricoverati nello stesso ospedale, in due padiglioni diversi, pneumologia e malattia mentale, sanatorio e manicomio. Il testo appare come un diario di ricordi intessuto di invenzione: ha forma di confessione, omaggio all'amicizia, discorso funebre, eulogia. I due amici condividono una specie di simmetrica interiorità di fronte alla morte e al dolore. Bernhard sviluppa una prosa nichilista e ansimante che indaga su una realtà oscura, indecifrabile, materia di odio familiare e rancore; scava nei conflitti cresciuti nei nodi irrisolti, esamina follia e onnipotenza sotterranee e vuoti affettivi che minacciano l'integrità di uno spirito circolare e fragile, che fluttua intorno ai complessi, alle disperazioni, ai fallimenti. L'autore sta sempre in cerca di una fortissima tensione che sveli la natura reale e illusoria delle cose. ”I morenti ritirano la testa nel guscio e non vogliono avere più niente a che fare con i vivi e con quelli che non pensano alla morte”. I temi che Bernhard affronta colpiscono nel segno: distanza, incomunicabilità, follia e genio, oppressione, egoismo, corruzione e ignavia. La crisi culturale è specchio di un controumanesimo affarista, devoto, solipsista e nazionalista, caratteristica di un mondo che esalta il narcisismo, la vittoria e la vanità, che si identifica in un potere violento e autoritario, incapace di altruismo, dialogo e ascolto, inseguitore di idoli inconsistenti; un potere che segna la malattia con il marchio della vergogna e della colpa. Bernhard rivela con le sue parole profondo rispetto e sincera stima per Paul Wittgenstein, un uomo sensibile e inadatto alla vita, indigente per singolarità, naturale nel vivere come gli altri, come se la malattia non ci fosse, sebbene dominato e sfruttato e reso inerme dalla follia. Insomma il male consuma in modo irriducibile, l'unico rimedio è gettare fuori dalla finestra l'interiorità, l'onta dell’anima, l'impossibile liberazione da sé stessi e dal destino grottesco di ciascuno di noi. Nella follia e nel decadimento, Bernhard riesce a tracciare una filosofia, praticando un'apertura per l'animo che anela a respirare. E suggerisce un'altra cosa rilevante: come nel titolo di quel carteggio, l'amicizia è la vera patria.

“Non c’è ipocrisia più diffusa di quella del sano nei confronti del malato. I sani, in fondo, non vogliono avere più niente a che fare con i malati e non sono affatto contenti che i malati, sto parlando dei veri malati, e cioè dei malati gravi, esigano tutt’a un tratto di ritornare in buona salute, o almeno di normalizzarsi o almeno di migliorare le loro condizioni di salute. Il sano, se è una persona sincera, ammetterà che non vuole avere più niente a che fare con il malato, non vuole che nessuno gli rammenti la malattia e, attraverso la malattia, logicamente e forzatamente la morte”.
Profile Image for David.
161 reviews1,427 followers
November 20, 2010
A quickie review, so put on your non-porous splash suit and buckle yourself in. Eschewing his emblematic deranged, run-on style, Bernhard serves up Wittgenstein's Nephew as both a eulogy of his friend Paul Wittgenstein, the famed philosopher's mentally unbalanced nephew, and a bleak rumination on death -- or more pointedly, the slow, surreptitious death that constitutes life. If you know someone who is despairing about about his or her physical deterioration and impending death, do not be so thoughtful as to give this book to said person as a gift. As the saying goes, 'Misery loves company' but death, as Wittgenstein's Nephew makes clear, is a solitary endeavor. It can not be shared. Even simultaneous, proximal deaths are not shared -- just juxtaposed. The narrative of this pithy novel is less a conventional plot point A to plot point B affair than a rueful meandering. The impetus is the narrator's (i.e., Thomas Bernhard's) stay in a lung disease ward in Vienna -- where prevailing medical opinion agrees that Bernhard will die, imminently. Adjacent to the lung disease ward in a spatial relation that is not quite clear to me is the mental ward, where Paul Wittgenstein is temporarily residing. Bernhard describes the medical complex (quite specifically) as only a mental ward and a lung disease ward. Nothing more. Which seems an odd commingling, but nevertheless... it affords him the opportunity (or the hypothetical opportunity) to visit his friend. The meeting doesn't go well, however. Something is lost, something is missing. Everything has changed. Mortality and illness ruin everything. Lock up the handgun and booze because this won't go down easy.
Profile Image for Emilio Gonzalez.
169 reviews61 followers
April 8, 2022
Con esta, que es la segunda novela que leo de él, Bernhard me acaba de conquistar definitivamente. Es un monólogo de casi 150 páginas sin un solo punto y aparte que me atrapó de principio a fin. Por un lado está esa forma tan magnética que tiene Bernhard de escribir y por otro la historia, que a pesar de su sencillez, es tan íntima y cercana que consigue conectar rápidamente con el lector.
Es una novela que parece tener mucho de autobiográfica en la que el autor cuenta la historia de su larga amistad con Paul Wittgenstein hasta el momento que este muere, y a la vez también reflexiona sobre su relación con el mundo que lo rodea y con él mismo, a través de sus obsesiones, sus miedos, sus angustias y hasta sus miserias.
Bernhard padeció una tuberculosis que lo aquejo durante mucho tiempo, así que su enfermedad, la amistad, la soledad y la muerte son algunos de los temas mas tratados en el libro, un libro muy apasionante que a mi me pareció maravilloso y más que recomendable.

“Como el noventa por ciento de los hombres, en el fondo quiero estar siempre donde no estoy, allá de donde acabo de huir. (….) Soy de esas personas que, en el fondo, no soportan ningún lugar del mundo y solo son felices entre los lugares de donde se marchan o a los que van.”
Profile Image for Nora Barnacle.
163 reviews96 followers
September 26, 2016
Svašta bih sad mogla da napišem: od himne, do anateme. Neka ovo bude prvi utisak, bez ocene.
Paul Vitgenštajn, kao i epizode iz Bernhardovog života su osnove na kojima stoji ovaj maestralni prikaz sasvim perverznog straha od opšteg bezumlja koje pametnog čoveka mora da razboli: od tuberkuloze ili šizofrenije, svejedno.
Ovaj roman je, pre svega, esencija prestravljenosti i gneva koji vode u ludilo, vapaj davljenika koji se okreće u vrtlogu nesavladive zavisti – hroničnog bolesnika – prema svemu što nije bolesno. Bernhard je zgrožen, razočaran, izdan, očajan i besan, besan, besan. Besan na glupost, sunovrat duha, bolest i smrt, a, opet, ludo zaljubljen u život, nije se naslušao muzike, nagledao slika, načitao novina, narazgovarao. I sve je odvratno, na čelu sa njim samim koji, iako sve vidi i zna, ne može da se suprotstavi. Ni sebi, ni tom svom strahu.
Demosnko ludilo koje je ovde naštelovano u centralnu figuru (iako ja mislim da nije) je Bernhardov lajt motiv i provejava i na drugim meni poznatim mestima (čitala sam još „Poremećaj“ i „Gubitnik“ ), ali u blažem obliku.
Najjači utisak mi je, ipak, forma. Moguće zato što nju mogu da artikulišem: monolitnošću i nizanjem stilskih figura (pre svega nebrojenim anaforama, epiforama i simplohama) potpuno me je ubedio da je izuzetnno muzikalan majstor stila, koji, kad poželi, može da zaliči na šizofrenog silovatelja hartije: knjiga zvuči kao da je neko sa ozbiljnom psihijatrijskom dijagnozom seo, otvorio usta i u dahu ispričao sadržaj ovih stotinak stranica, dok slušalac preko puta – čitalac – sve vreme gleda kako se ovaj znoji, gubi nit pa se vraća, menja mišljenje, krivi sebe, pa prašta, onda krivi sve druge, pa ih razume i opravdava, pa ne zna ko je kriv i da li uopšte ima krivih... a u pozadini kuca nekakav metronom, ili kaplje slavina – još bolje! Prevodilac Sanja Karanović je dobro uradila posao, ali verujem da je na nemačkom utisak daleko bolji, pa, ko može – neka ne propusti.

Za formu, 5 ko vrata i dubok naklon.
Ipak, ovo je mučna, grozomorna kavez - knjiga, i ali vrhunska književnost
Profile Image for Jokoloyo.
449 reviews269 followers
December 18, 2016
At first I expected an autobiographical tale of friendship between author and Paul Wittgenstein, nephew of Ludwig Wittgenstein. But then it is so much more, there were discussions about Austrian society. My favourite is the literary prize episode, I found it hilarious.

But at the end, the author was discussing his friend, Paul, at the last stages of his life. It was so sad (At that late part I was torn between 4 or 5 star rating, I was so moved by Paul's situation).

The author combined the absurdity of Austrian Theatre society with Paul's friendship beautifully at the end of book, then followed by the final downfall of Paul. That end part of book deserves 5 star rating.

I have problem with writing style, maybe I am not ready yet with this continuous writing with non-linear timeline. Fortunately the end was worth the effort.
Profile Image for Heba.
1,000 reviews1,902 followers
September 26, 2020
يستدعي الكاتب "توماس برنهارد" صديقه الأوحد "باول" من الذاكرة كشظايا مرايا مُحطمة...هل كان حقاً يُشكل صورتها الأولى ليتمكن من رؤيته على ما كان عليه...أم كان يقف في مواجهة صادقة مع ذاته ليكشف عن إذعانه للخوف من الموت بينما كان صديقه يحتضر وحيداً حبيساً بشرنقة اليأس...؟؟
لقد جمعتهما صداقة فريدة...استثنائية ، تشاركا سوياً الإصغاء...التلقي..والاهتمام... ، حتى هشاشة الوجود الانساني أمام المرض والموت....
وبالرغم من كونهما متشابهين ولكنهما كانا مختلفين إلى أقصى حد...
فإن كان "توماس" قد غذى وجوده بجنونه...ف"باول" التهم جنونه وجوده....
معادلة صعبة..مُرهقة.. ، تكشف عن صداقة تطلبت نضالاً شاقاً ومُضنياً للحفاظ عليها من براثن الجنون....
تراءى لي كما لو أن حواسهما لم تكن تتوقف عن تلقي رسائل من كل ما يدور حولهما...ويسارعان بالنفاذ إلى جوهرها ، يغرقونها بتأملاتهما الفلسفية وثراءهما الفكري وذائقتهما الموسيقية الأوبرالية...
ومع ذلك يكيلا الاتهامات اللعينة لعالم قبيح..بليد ، فلم يكن لشيء أن ينجو من قبضتهما الساخرة التهكمية...
في زخم هذه الحياة أسرتني ضحكة "باول" ...تناهى إلى مسامعي رنينها وهو يرتطم بجدران قاعات الأوبرا...وقد انفطر قلبي عندما ذوت تلك الضحكة وتوارت داخل قفص مستشفى الأمراض العقلية...
كان على حد قول الكاتب "بلسماً وجعل وجوده افضل على أي حال..."
باول قال يوماً لصديقه :
مئتا صديق سيحضرون د��ني ولابد من أن تُلقي أنت على قبري كلمة تأبيني....
ولكن "توماس" لم يكن حاضراً آنذاك...بل لم يستطع أن يزور قبره حتى يوم كتابة هذا العمل الإنساني الذي يعبق دفئاً.. رهافة..وهشاشة...
Profile Image for Dajana.
77 reviews28 followers
January 5, 2018
Pročitam Bernharda jednom godišnje da se slučajno ne zeznem i ne pomislim da je svet lep
Profile Image for Kaggelo.
35 reviews41 followers
November 25, 2019
Ο γνωστός Bernhard. Καταιγιστικός, εξομολογητικός, ειλικρινής, συγκινητικός. Είναι η εξιστόρηση μιας πολύ βαθιάς και ολοκληρωτικής φιλίας ανάμεσα στον συγγραφέα και στον ανιψιό του γνωστού φιλοσόφου. Μου έκανε ιδιαίτερη εντύπωση το τέλος. Από τα καλύτερα που έχω διαβάσει. Πολύ πικρό, αναπάντεχα ειλικρινές.
Profile Image for Narjes Dorzade.
270 reviews248 followers
November 26, 2019
با آن روحیه‌ی پیش به سوی مرگ، با لباس دیوانگان
Profile Image for Grazia.
379 reviews151 followers
June 21, 2018
Duri e puri

Un libro sull'amicizia, questo.

Assolutamente inconsueto ed anticonvenzionale. Perché Bernhard, raccontando la storia della sua amicizia con Paul Wittgenstein, di fatto infama se stesso per aver abbandonato l'amico quando era solo, malato, in pessime condizioni economiche ed in procinto di morire.

È come se accusasse se stesso di non aver tenuto presente che pochissime sono le persone che, nel corso di una vita per noi sono importanti, e giusto per questo non possiamo, nel momento in cui si ammalano, disfarcene.

"oggi penso che le persone che hanno davvero avuto un qualche significato nella nostra vita si possono contare sulle dita di una sola mano e molto spesso è proprio questa mano che si ribella all’idea perversa che una mano intera sia necessaria per enumerare queste persone, quando, a essere sinceri, un solo dito basta e avanza."

Ma, par dire Bernhard, l'uomo è un essere indegno, o forse solo un animale. Non ama confrontarsi con la malattia, perché quel tipo di confronto è in realtà un confronto con la morte, e prima di essa col declino.

"Il sano, se è una persona sincera, ammetterà che non vuole avere più niente a che fare con il malato, non vuole che nessuno gli rammenti la malattia e, attraverso la malattia, logicamente e forzatamente la morte."

E quindi da duro e puro qual è, non vuole indorare la pillola nemmeno a se stesso. Si rifiuta di ingentilire cose o situazioni. E brutalmente esprime i pensieri meno nobili che, a suo vedere, denotano l'animo umano.

i sani non hanno affatto la volontà di aiutare i malati, in verità simulano continuamente di possedere virtù da buoni samaritani che invece non possiedono, non vogliono possedere e che, essendo virtù puramente simulate, non fanno che nuocere all’ammalato e non lo aiutano affatto"

È talmente tanto politically scorrect, dice cose a talmente impietose, che non posso evitare di riderne, quasi senza fiato davanti a tanta brutale sincerità.

"Già non sopporto me stesso, figuriamoci un’orda di persone come me che passano il loro tempo a spremersi il cervello e a scrivere."
Profile Image for Vesna.
201 reviews102 followers
May 1, 2020
It’s almost impossible to put in words the reading experience when the book is so gripping that you can’t leave it and feel as if you had read it in one breath. And incidentally it was written in a single 100-page long paragraph, the thoughts of an incredibly honest narrator flowing naturally. In this case Bernhard himself is the narrator, walking us through his observations about society (he hates it), music (he loves it), Vienna, the hypocrisy of literary prizes, what-not, … above all, it’s a heart-breaking tribute to his friend, Paul Wittgenstein, a nephew of his much better known uncle Ludwig. Some of it is clearly autobiographical and some fictional, but ultimately it’s a deeply affectionate story about friendship. Though replete with resentful thoughts (how else can you think about all kinds of hypocrisies?), it is also charmingly witty at times and always profoundly honest.

A few quotes, illustrating just a fragment of Bernhard’s fascinating writing about some preoccupations in the novel.

- questioning the line between genius and “the so-called mental disease” (the phrase Bernhard repeatedly emphasizes)
For a whole century the Wittgensteins had produced weapons and machines, until finally they produced Ludwig and Paul—the famous, epoch-making philosopher and the madman who, in Vienna at least, was equally famous and possibly more so. Paul the madman was just as philosophical as his uncle Ludwig, while Ludwig the philosopher was just as mad as his nephew Paul. … Paul the madman unquestionably achieved a standard equal to that of Ludwig the philosopher: the one represents a high point in philosophy and the history of ideas, the other a high point in the history of madness—that is, if we insist on adhering to the conventional designations of philosophy, history, ideas, and madness, which are nothing but perverse historical concepts.
- friendship, facing death, guilt…
Quite deliberately, out of a base instinct for self-preservation, I shunned my friend in the last months of his life, and for this I cannot forgive myself. […] I do not know whether it was because I was afraid of someone who was the embodiment of death or because I felt I had to spare him an encounter with someone who was not yet destined to go the same way. It was probably both. Watching him, I felt ashamed. I felt it shameful that I was not yet finished, as my friend already was.
- many ordinary and daily things in life, like coffehouses, get interesting treatment:
The truth is that I have always hated the Viennese coffeehouses because in them I am always confronted with people like myself, and naturally I do not wish to be everlastingly confronted with people like myself, and certainly not in a coffeehouse, where I go to escape from myself.
and much more… a book I’ll be coming back to many times, for sure.
Profile Image for Matthew Ted.
689 reviews567 followers
April 3, 2021
[33rd book of 2021. Artist for this review is, perhaps too predictably, Austrian painter Egon Schiele, whom I happen to be very fond of.]

I've wanted to read Bernhard for some time due to W.G. Sebald's final admittance of his influence. This eventual admittance was purely tactical: Sebald knew as soon as he gave his deep gratitude to Bernhard, he would be pigeon-holed, marked, and crosshaired, as being Inspired by Thomas Bernhard, or Follower of Thomas Bernhard, Lover of Thomas Bernhard. But, alas, he did, in his December 6th interview in 2001 with none other than Silverblatt just eight days before his death. Silverblatt referred to Bernhard as Sebald's "mentor and model". And Sebald said, "Nevertheless, it was necessary for me eventually to acknowledge his constant presence, I suppose, by my side." Given that I consider Sebald himself one of the most important writers in the latter half of the 20thC, something I say a lot, I knew I must read Bernhard. Sebald also claimed that Bernhard, "Singlehandedly, I think, invented a new form of narrating."

Wittgenstein's Nephew is a single paragraph spanning 100 pages. There is no speech-marked dialogue. It is, actually, very akin to Sebald's final, 2001 novel, Austerlitz, in many ways. In fact, like some of Sebald's other novels too. Wittgenstein's Nephew is an "autobiographical" (memoir, yes, but part fiction too) about the narrator, Thomas Bernhard, and Paul (nephew of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein), in separate wings of the same Viennese hospital in 1967. Bernhard is in suffering with a lung ailment; Paul is in the asylum wing, suffering from his "periodic bouts of madness", as the blurb describes it. Their illnesses parallel one another, mostly by Bernhard's design, but it is principally a meditation on their friendship, and the things they shared with one another: music, literature, madness, death, life.

Portrait of Erwin Dominilk Osen (Mime Van Osen)—1910

Bernhard's prose is utterly bizarre. It is repetitive, paradoxical, meandering, and yet it burns with quite a powerful ferocity as it moves, and seemingly (perhaps it is an illusion) with the distinct feeling of direction and purpose. Above all, I was surprised how funny it is. And continuing with its paradoxical nature, it is moving, but sad; it is funny, yet sombre; it is playful, yet severe.

This is part of a two-page spread following much the same vein, showing the repetitive, obsessive, similarities between them, becoming at once, mind-numbing whilst also remaining humorous:
Paul, I am bound to say, was ultimately conditioned by madhouses, while I, it seems, have ben conditioned by lung hospitals. He was educated by madmen for long periods of his life, I by lung patients; he developed in the company of madmen, I in the company of lung patients; and to develop among madmen is not so different from developing among lung patients. He learned the crucial lessons of life and existence from the madmen, whereas I learned my equally crucial lessons from the lung patients—he from mental disease, I from lung disease. It might be said that Paul succumbed to madness because one day he lost control, just as I succumbed to lung disease because I one day lost control.

"Erwin Dominik Osen", Detail—1910

At the height of its intensity and honesty, Wittgenstein's Nephew is a rage against mortality, suffering and losing those who are close to us; it is also about facing death. Bernhard estranged himself somewhat from Paul simply because he could not bear to face death itself, the coming of death. Bernhard admits he was afraid. He says:
I am quite simply not a good person. I dissociated myself from my friend, like all the others who had been his friends, because, like them, I wanted to dissociate myself from death and was afraid of being brought face to face with it.

A couple of years ago now my grandmother had a fall and needed a hip replacement. She was, for quite a long period of time, in some rehabilitation/hospital building. It was some old modernist building. It looked vaguely like a WW2 base. I always felt like an RAF pilot wandering in and out of it. Granny, as we call her, was in a room that looked out onto the gravel outside and then the trees beyond that. There were some other women in the room with her. One continually screamed at night for water. Water! Water! was apparently all that could be heard. Granny slept through it, somehow. The nurses all looked tired and slightly despondent, but were chirpy enough. It had the usual feel to it, tired water-fountains, floors that squeaked. My brother and I drove over there as frequently as we could and pushed Granny out in a clattering wheelchair to the nearby coffeeshop. As soon as we arrived we were keen to throw her in the chair and buck it out of the front doors to get away from all the injured, sad-looking old people. I poked miserably around the bookcases once in the empty communal area. They were all dog-eared and beaten-up. The whole place just reeked of defeat, borrowed time. So, my brother and I hated every moment within its white walls. But, it had a profound effect on me, for some reason; during the whole period she was there and even for months afterwards, I was writing, indirectly, about the building. As soon as I was there, I wanted to escape and as soon as I was away I wanted to take my mind back to it. It reminds me of what Bernhard said about his travelling:
Once in Nathal I ask myself what I am doing here, and I ask myself the same question when I arrive in Vienna. Basically, like nine tenths of humanity, I always want to be somewhere else, in the place I have just fled from. In recent years this condition has, if anything, become worse: I go to and from Vienna at diminishing intervals, and from Nathal I will often go to some other big city, to Venice or Rome and back, or to Prague and back. The truth is that I am happy only when I am sitting in the car, between the place I have just left and the place I am driving to. I am happy only when I am travelling; when I arrive, no matter where, I am suddenly the unhappiest person imaginable.

"Self-Portrait", Detail—1910

And that was what it was like with this modernist sinkhole. Anyway, I eventually realised, and this novel has ossified it, that my brother and I were simply disgusted by the lingering feeling of death, or else dismemberment, be it physically or mentally. With humour and candour, Wittgenstein's Nephew presses us to asks ourselves, Are we afraid of seeing death, especially in a friend? And is that fear enough to allow us to disassociate ourselves with them? Is Bernhard right in saying that the healthy do not understand the sick and the sick do not understand the healthy? Probably.

Like a true Bernhard paradox, every time we bumped Granny's wheelchair back through those modernist front doors and helped her back into that sad old chair by the window, we were grateful to say goodbye and leave the wretched place, only to find though, that as soon as we were back in the car and I was pulling out of the parking space I felt immeasurable guilt at leaving so soon, and felt the odd desire, at the first set of traffic lights, to turn back and sit with her a while longer in that homely, old-fashioned and charming place.
Profile Image for María Carpio.
153 reviews36 followers
February 22, 2023
No sé si soy yo o es Bernhard, este primer Bernhard que leo, pero que en realidad es de los últimos que publicó. Según lo que leí en el posfacio, este libro pertenece a su última etapa enmarcada en la ironía y la autobiografía. He conectado con la primera parte en gran medida, pero luego quizás, cuando la reiteración de palabras, desnuda, sin ninguna estructura estilística literaria (aunque esa era la intención, supongo) empantanó un poco la lectura, desconecté porque quizás no entendí la intención o porque la musicalidad que posiblemente buscaba en esas palabras, yo no la detecté. No obstante, cuando la ironía se hizo presente a granel, retomé el interés y la trama también lo retomó, aunque no pude evitar la sensación de estar leyendo un libro escrito al apuro, irregular, y que usaría esa irregularidad y descuido como un pretexto estilístico. También resulta pesado el último tercio del libro por la excesiva adulación a su amigo Paul Wittgenstein, el loco sobrino del filósofo Ludwig Wittgenstein sobre quien trata este volúmen, y por la excesiva autocompasión y condescendencia hacia sí mismo. Para ello, no duda en compararse y ponerse al mismo nivel de su genial amigo Paul, haciendo notar que ambos eran dos excepcionales seres de este mundo. Ello y las referencias snobistas (e incluso el desprecio hacia el resto) son algo que han bajado considerablemente mi apreciación por este libro. Quizás debiera leer otras obras suyas, pero la temática al rededor de la cual giran todos es la misma siempre y es la que compone este libro, así que por ahora no creo que lo intente, quizás más adelante.
Profile Image for Molly Bloom.
51 reviews25 followers
April 2, 2021
Un'altra bellissima lettura di Bernhard. Più lo leggo e più ne divento dipendente. E' vero, è ripetitivo nelle tematiche e ripetitivo nello stile, eppure sembra sempre dirti le cose per la prima volta. Piace a pochi per la sua schiettezza, ma si sa che la verità è scomoda.
Questa è la storia di una morte, la morte dell'amico Paul Wittgenstein, durata dodici anni, periodo corrispondente anche alla loro amicizia datosi che Bernhard incontrò Paul quando già era predestinato a questa fine. Scritto con molta ironia ma anche con sincero affetto verso l'amico, il libro ripercorre non soltanto la loro amicizia ma anche molti temi cari all'autore e nella prima parte anche una bellissima dichiarazione d'affetto e omaggio alla "persona più importante della mia vita", "la mia compagna di vita", compagna della quale parla con molta riservatezza nei suoi scritti. La paura e la vigliaccheria dell'uomo "sano" davanti a un moribondo, le nette differenze tra sani e malati e l'incomprensibilità tra essi, l'ostilità della natura e quindi della campagna che si contrappone allo spirito cittadino amico dello stimolo intellettuale, aneddoti autobiografici sui premi ricevuti e, da solito orso brontolone, fa partire un'altra spietata critica verso lo stato Austriaco, i libri e i giornali austriaci e in generale verso tutta la parte culturale austriaca. Un libro che si legge velocemente e che oltre a far riflettere fa anche divertire. Bernhard ha sempre saputo andare fino al confine ma senza mai superarlo: così come è andato fino al confine della pazzia egli stesso, senza però superarlo come Paul, nello stesso modo la sua cupezza letteraria fa le sue acrobazie sempre sul confine tra il serio e il farsesco, il che la rende grottesca e dunque ilare.
Profile Image for Ahmed.
911 reviews7,358 followers
February 8, 2019

صداقة مع ابن شقيق فيتغنشتاين.....توماس برنهارد

أهو النَص دا درس سردي من الطراز الرفيع، معجزة كتابية فعلا، تدفق أفكار في عدد قليل من الصفحات بيقدم لنا صورة وافية جدا عن الحياة ككل، مش مجرد حالة شخصية لكاتبها.

رواية تُقرأ كجملة واحدة لا عطلة فيها، بتاخد نفسك وسط السطور وتكمل القراءة كأنك في رحلة ممتعة جميلة، وتجد بين السطور دي نفسك، نفسك بالمخاوف اللي بتتكون بداخلك بمرور الوقت والسنين، رحلة الإنسان عندما يصل إلى نهايتها فيبدأ النور الخفي في الظهور له ليعيد ترتيب حياته ويضع كلماته الأخيرة.

الكتاب حالة شديدة من الصدق، صدق النفس اللي يُكتب من القلب ليقع في القلب، حالة تقدر بسهولة الاندماج معها واستخراج العظات والعبر منها، اندماج حياتي نابع من مصطلح الصديق حتى لو تكن الصداقة موضوعها المباشر، حالة جمعت بين الزخم والمتعة، مع إرهاق ممتع أثناء القراءة لتدفق الأفكار والكلمات.

والحالة السردية الممتعة دي لم تكن تخرج لنا بمثل هذا البهاء لو لم يُقدر لها مترجم بحجم سمير جريس، واللي نقل النص بسلاسة يُحسد عليها، سلاسة تجعلنا مدينيين له بالكثير.

ويمكن من الفقرات اللي وقفت قدامها كثيرا كانت الفقرة دي:

قلت لنفسى وأنا أجلس فوق دكة فى منتزه المدينة، إن هذه ربما تكون آخر مرة أرى فيها صديقى. لم أكن اعتقد أن جسدا بهذا الوهن، خبت فيه جذوة الحياة وانطفأت شعلة الإرادة، سيتحمل أكثر من بضعة أيام. زُلزل كيانى لرؤيته هكذا يعانى الوحدة فجأة، هذا الإنسان الذى هو بسليقته إنسان اجتماعى، كما يقولون، منذ مولده وحتى بلوغه، وظل اجتماعيا إلى أن أمسى كهلا ثم شيخا. ثم خطر على بالى كيف تعرّفت إلى هذا الإنسان الذى أضحى بالفعل صديقى، الذى طالما أسعدَ وجودى غاية السعادة، هذا الوجود الذى لم يكن بائسا قبل التعرف إليه، إلا أنه كان شاقا مُجهدا. كان هو الذى فتح عينى على أشياء كثيرة كنت أجهلها تماما، وأرشدنى إلى دروب لم يكن لى علم بها، وفتح لى أبواباً كانت موصدة بإحكام فى وجهى، وأعاد لى نفسى فى تلك اللحظة الحاسمة عندما كدت أهلك.

اللي هو أن نُمجد العادي، الحياة الطبيعية بلا ابتذال ولا محاولة تعقيد ما يمكن الوصول له بتلك البساطة.

حبيت الكتاب جدا وحبيت الحالة الجميلة اللي لقيت نفسي فيها.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 532 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.