All comments welcome; and, welcome as additions to the site:

Unless otherwise stated,
all content © A.E.M. Baumann


Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil


Narrative literature as art. As high art. A 480 page prose-poem (an inadequate – if not stupid – word) flowing through the last three days of Virgil's life. There is narrative, the text is linear in that it maintains chronological succession. But the majority of the text is moved into experience, dream, hallucination, and then one step further into pure(r) textuality, into the lyrical in its more refined states. It is not for naught that Thomas Mann wrote of it, "One of the most extraordinary and profound experiments ever to have been undertaken with the flexible medium of the novel."

But beyond that, or perhaps within that, you will find here such gems as this:

[T]his, the disclosure of the divine through the self-perceptive knowledge of the individual soul, this ws the task of art, its human duty, its perceptive duty and therefore the reason for being, the proof of which was art's nearness to death, since only in this nearness might art become real, only in this unfolding into a symbol of the hunan soul . . . . (140)