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Hermann Broch: Comparatist and Humanist

Joseph Strelka
Comparative Literature Studies
Vol. 12, No. 1 (Mar., 1975), pp. 67-79
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40246195
Page Count: 13
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Hermann Broch: Comparatist and Humanist
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Abstract

The article takes Hermann Broch's novel, The Death of Virgil, as an example with which to show the obligations and possibilities of literature in a time of crisis. It also compares critically The Death of Virgil with James Joyce's Ulysses. Describing the time of the late Roman empire, which was a time of crisis similar to ours, Broch uses his novel, among other things, as an expression of his theory of literature and of a comparative theory of the novel as the symbolic synthesis of a totality of life and as a special form of knowledge or perception and of human self-understanding. Broch's novel and the novel in general are neither reduced to hack work in the service of some limited ideological or political purpose, nor to a merely linguistic structure completely removed from any real meaning. Rather, both gain highly existential significance due to their symbolic character. (JS)

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