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Broch, Hermann (Translated by H. F. Broch De Rothermann). THE SPELL. New York City, NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1987. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 391 pages. Fine/Fine.

The third and final volume in the author's masterly trilogy. The first appearance of the title in English and in the United States, in a felicitous translation by his son, H. F. Broch de Rothermann. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published to enormous critical acclaim, the book is now very scarce. "The Spell" is the third novel in a grand trilogy that began with "The Death of Virgil" and was followed by "The Sleepwalkers". Like its magnificent predecessors, Hermann Broch's lifelong concern as a writer (he was many other things, including an internationalist advocate for the United Nations) was with the modernist novel, which he saw and realized as primarily a novel of ideas, an idea that has been under attack today but remains all the more relevant for that reason alone (it is under attack by novelists who cannot write let alone have ideas). For Broch, ideas are not ponderous questions that should be left to specialists and philosophers, but are part of the mission of literature. What is the difference between ideas articulated in a novel versus ideas espoused in a treatise or essay? The ideas in a novel are always "voiced", through living and breathing characters, and unfold in a complex narrative that no philosopher or academic scholar could pull off. Their tone is much more playful, more personal, and ultimately, more profound. Broch's seminal aesthetics have influenced several generations of writers, mainly European, and most famously, Milan Kundera, who considers Broch to be the greatest novelist of the 20th century, part of a constellation that includes Franz Kafka, Robert Musil, Witold Gombrowicz, and Thomas Bernhard. He was engaged in political activity all his life, but he was not an "engage" writer like Jean-Paul Sartre, whose novels Broch saw as nothing more than illustrations of Sartre's preconceived notions as an Existentialist thinker. "There are many persons who could have done for the United Nations what my father did, but there is no one who can write the novels that went unwritten because he spent his time and energy on the United Nations instead of writing" (H. F. Broch de Rothermann). Perhaps, but three masterpieces in a row is not a surpassable achievement. A "must-have" title for Hermann Broch collectors. This title has been out-of-print for a very long time and is now collectible. This is one of very few copies of the First English-language Edition still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a beauty. A very scarce copy thus. One of the greatest writers of the 20th century. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER HERMANN BROCH TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 0374267618. $50.00

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