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Broch, Hermann(hĕr`män brôkh), 1886–1951, Austrian novelist. Broch is one of the masters of European modernism. Influenced by Immanuel Kant and Ludwig Wittgenstein, Karl Kraus, and the Vienna Circle, his trilogy Die Schlafwandler (1931–32; tr. The Sleepwalkers, 1932) describes the disintegration of social values and of organic coherence in the modern world. Der Tod des Virgil (1945; tr. The Death of Virgil, 1945) is a lyrical, stream-of-consciousness novel stylistically evoking James Joyce. His Hugo von Hofmannstahl and His Time (1964, tr. 1984) is one of the great accounts of fin-de-siècle Vienna. Also a mathematician and businessman, Broch lived in the United States after 1938.
See biography by P. M. Lützeler (1987); studies by T. Ziolkowski (1964) and E. Schlant (1971; tr. 1987).
Born Nov. 1, 1886, in Vienna; died May 30, 1951, in New Haven, Conn. Austrian writer. Son of a factory owner.
Broch directed a textile concern in Vienna until 1928, when he began his literary career. In 1938 he emigrated to the USA. His novels portray the life of Austrian and German society in the period of the approaching collapse of monarchical Germany (the trilogy Lunatics, 1931-32) and Austria before World War I (The Tempter, 1953). The novel The Death of Virgil (1945) is devoted to the problems of artistic creativity. In the novel The Innocents (1950) Broch demonstrated how people’s indifference to politics facilitated fascism’s rise to power. The novella A Passing Cloud (1931) and the plays For They Know Not What They Do (1933) and Atonement (1933) have an antifascist character. Broch’s art contains the contradictory combination of a realistic critique of bourgeois relations and exposure of fascism along with subjectivism and alogism in the spirit of J. Joyce. Broch wrote the study James Joyce and Contemporaneity (1936).
WORKSGesammelte Werke, vols. 1-8. Zürich, 1953-57.
Die Idee ist ewig: Essays und Briefe.[Munich, 1968.]
REFERENCEDurzak, M. H. Broch. Berlin, 1968.
N. B. VESELOVSKAIA and S. E. SHLAPOBERSKAIA