2. Cuttings

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hangs over the ghost-like world. Thus man gropes, like a lost, bewildered
child, led by the thread of some petty small-winded logic through the
dream-landscape he calls reality, but which is only a nightmare to him.?
In the ten chapters on the“ Decay of Valucs, which are always
inserted after certain events or situations in the narrative, it is then
inexorably revealed how and why the values of the past were doomed to
destruction. In a logical dissertation Broch shows to what extent the form
of the logical corresponds to that which it contains. Previously, the
characteristics of the time are analysed, from its architecture, of course, for
according to Broch the tenor of an epoch is most clearly revealed in its
architectural experiences, and architectural style is the most important
among the characterising features of an age. Thus every age has its logic,
and the individual cannot escape from it, even if it be as little to his taste
as our own may be to some of us. What is the nature of this logic forthe
individual in an age as brutal and aggressive as our own: All harmony
is destroyed, repose in existence abolished, and man in the image of God
is no more: he stands helpless amid the whirl of forces and values that
have independent existence round about him. How did this come about?
In an historical disquisition Broch attempts to explain it by endeavouring
to establish from historv what spiritual phenomena must arise to produce
a revolution in the mode of thought (for##the revolutionisation of all the
phenomena of life indicates a complete change of thought *'). From insight
into the causes of phenomena of our time, and from the knowledge of
those phenorena, and under the influence of the terror that seizes us in
contemplating the life of this age in which the anti-logical has reached a
climax that can no more be exceeded—from these three places of experience
How can we save ourselves?
the thinker is led to the question:
And beyond this question there is the fearful doubt: “ Does this age still
possess reality?? And where do we arrive? At a view which appears
to be a rehearsal for the Last Judgement: “ Does this age possess a
reality in which the meaning of our life has been preserved?
Are these questions which can be answered in a novel? And is not
The Sleep-walkers therefore to be considered as rather an absurd
production of a man not ableto express himself completely in a philosophical
work, because his nature compelled him to express his thoughts in pictures
from time to time in the manner of the novel writer? From Broch’s
paper on James Joyce (“ James Joyce and the Present Time, a speech
on the occasion of Joyce's fiftieth birthday) we learn that this permeation
of fictional composition with philcsophy, an osmosis between pictorial
and abstract thinking, was not only deliberately intended, but also in
the view of the author a requirement of the modern novel. He repeats
an objection commonly made to this form: “ that knöwledge is the
business of science, or if it is to be a question of empirical knowledge its
place is natural philosophy. Quite apart from the fact that an art which