Cover image for Geist and Zeitgeist : the spirit in an unspiritual age : six essays by Hermann Broch
Geist and Zeitgeist : the spirit in an unspiritual age : six essays by Hermann Broch
Broch, Hermann, 1886-1951.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Essays. Selections
Publication Information:
New York : Counterpoint, [2002]

Physical Description:
xiv, 210 pages ; 25 cm
Evil in the value-system of art -- The spirit in an unspiritual age -- Joyce and the present age -- The style of the mythical age -- Some comments on the philosophy and technique of translating -- Hugo von Hofmannsthal and his time.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PT2603.R657 A6 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Hermann Broch achieved international recognition for his brilliant use of innovative literary techniques to present the entire range of human experience, from the biological to the metaphysical. Concerned with the problem of ethical responsibility in a world with no unified system of values, he turned to literature as the appropriate form for considering those human problems not subject to rational treatment.

Late in life, Broch began questioning his artistic pursuits and turned from literature to devote himself to political theory. While he is well known and highly regarded throughout the world as a novelist, he was equally accomplished as an essayist. These six essays give us a fascinating glimpse into the mind of one of the twentieth century's most original thinkers.

Author Notes

Hermann Broch was a novelist, playwright, mathematician, and engineer. He was born in Vienna in 1886; he came to the United States in 1938. The Sleepwalkers (1932) Broch's prose trilogy describes three stages in the disintegration of modern European society. The Death of Virgil (1945), whom Broch considered a prototype of the modern individual, depicts the last eighteen hours of the life of Virgil. Broch's vision of the immanence of death will probably be regarded as his most original contribution to human experience.

Broch was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (1941-42), a membership in the American Institute of Arts and Letters (1942), and a Rockefeller Fellowship for Philosophical and Psychological Research at Princeton (1942-44).

Broch died in 1951.

(Bowker Author Biography) Hermann Broch was a novelist and playwright. He was born in Vienna on November 1, 1886. Broch studied physics, mathematics, and philosophy at the University of Vienna.

Broch's first major work was the trilogy, The Sleepwalkers, which used historical events in the Europe of the late 19th and early 20th centuries to illustrate the decline of European society. His book The Seducer, caused Adolf Hitler to send Broch to a Nazi prison for five months. An international group of artists that included James Joyce arranged for Broch to escape to the United States. Broch's last novel was The Death of Virgil. After its release in 1945, Broch devoted himself to works on political theory and to helping European refugees.

Broch died on May 30, 1951.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Though best known to American scholars as an unsung master novelist (The Death of Virgil; The Sleepwalkers), Austrian-born Broch (1886-1951) also penned challenging, provocative essays. The six collected here, among the few to have been translated into English, represent the dominant themes in Broch's writings. For most of his life, the author concerned himself with the role of art in an era he felt was undergoing a "dissolution of values." Indeed, all but one of these essays are based on Broch's belief that Western culture had lost its unifying value-set, and was thus floundering, ethically and esthetically, as it waited for the emergence of another prevalent set of values. Not surprisingly, he champions art that represents universal human experience; he repeatedly cites James Joyce's Ulysses as being uniquely of its time, even as it revived the principles of Homeric myth. In "Evil in the Value-System of Art," Broch argues that kitsch, because it is imitative rather than original and seeks beauty rather than truth, is "the evil in art." Broch's ideas and ideals are nothing if not rarified, but the rigor of his thought and the strength of his belief in art's ability-duty, even-to restore a culture's universal mythic knowledge is striking. (Jan. 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved