Faksimile

Text

—.—
box 38/3
2. Cuttings
c, Lion.
Extract trom
#ite and Letters
LONDON
DEC 1936
64
HERMANN BROCH
By FRITZ LEHNER
(Translated by Petrie Tozonshend)
N the Austria of 1or8, the Austria of Schnitzler Rilke and Hof¬
mannsthal, the austerer, more ascetie forces, Wilfch were not to be
revealed until a later period, already existed in a latent form, but they
Thad to await the necessary“ climate?’ for their development before
becoming fully active. These new forces were characterised by an earnest¬
ness of temper, a certain stern austeritythat was something quite novel and
unfamiliar—at first sight indeed surprising—in Austria, where even the
naturalistic movement had assumed a milder, more ingratiating form than
its counterpart in other countries: France, Germany, Russia and Norwav.
* Rougon-Macquart, lbsen his inexorable
While Zola wrote his
" Ghosts, Hauptmann the sombre“ Before Sunrise“, Austria produced
the lyrical melancholy of Schnitzler's“ Liebelei,'’ the ’cello melodies of
Rilke’s lyrical poetry, the cultivated reserve of the poetry and drama of
Hugo von Hofmannsthal.
The atmosphere of those times is reflected, even though in a distorted
form (a caricature beside a nevertheless pleasing picture) in some of the
Viennese films of to-day: a past which thought itself present, a mas¬
querade of old people, who coßered their faces with the masks of youth,
but were nevertheless claimec by Death as inexorably as they are in
Hofmannthal’s" Jedermann.' They waltzed; then came the war:
then came the collapse; then came the inflation; and then the cold
atmosphere was there in which one had to be hardened to survive.
The climate?' for a new generation of authors had arrived; a circle of
new talent appeared. Among them was Hermann Broch. Even before
the war, the industrialist—as he was then considered exclusively to be—was
frequently scen in the company of the writers who, rightly or wrongly
considering themselves the advanced guard of Austrian literature, fore¬
gathered to“ smoke“ their mocca, play chess and run up bills in the
Rotundensaal of the Café Zentral. So little was Broch then considered—
even by the more sensitive among them—to be one of their number, a
“ man of the guild“, that one of them did not hesitate to use one of
Broch’s stories in a work of his own, without being held to account.
Broch did not mind particularly; he looked on. His store of inner wealth
continually increased; and he remained silent until his ideas had matured
to what he wished them to be: with the three volumes of his“ Schlaf¬
waendler?’ (“ Sleep-walkers*’) which, published by the Rheinverlag,
suddenlv appeared in rozi, he became one of the outstanding writers of his
time. Those who had formerly used his work for themselves slid softly down¬
hill again: their earnestness was exhausted, their humour became elegiac.