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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

The Bookaholics' Guide to Book Blogs: "Mark Thwaite ... has a maverick, independent mind"

Thursday 15 June 2006


Its funny how you find things out: all the Herman Broch titles that were printed under Penguin Modern Classics are now out of print. I was shocked to learn this only about an hour ago. And how do I know this? Well, RSB contributor Paul Griffiths has written (back in 2003) a fine book on the serialist composer Jean Barraqué, called The Sea on Fire, which I was talking about with his publisher, Boydell & Brewer, only this morning. I was surfing for more information on Barraqué and remembered that he was a friend and lover of Michel Foucault's who had planned to write a collection of pieces based on Hermann Broch's The Death of Virgil, but who only completed two of the projected parts (Chant aprés chant (1966), and Le temps restitué (1957/68)) before his death.

Anyway, this got me thinking more about Broch and about possibly featuring him and his work here on RSB. Maybe even doing a minisite. But Penguin tell me that he is out of print. So ReadySteadyBroch is going to have to wait until I chase down some second hand copies. (If any of you have any Broch's lying about that you don't want please email me!)

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Reader Comments

Thursday 15 June 2006

Dan Visel says...

I have an extra copy of The Sleepwalkers - send me your mail address if you're interested & I'll happily send it to you.

Thursday 15 June 2006

Richard says...

This might not help you in the UK, but Broch's stuff is, perhaps surprisingly, in print in the US. The Sleepwalkers and The Death of Virgil are on Vintage and The Guiltless and The Unknown Quantity are published by Northwestern University Press: This reminds me that I keep promising a post on The Sleepwalkers at my blog The Existence Machine, but have hit a wall... sigh.

Thursday 15 June 2006

Mark Thwaite says...

Hi Dan -- thanks so much. I'll be in touch! Wonderfully kind.

Richard -- cheers for this. I'll get on to Vintage and Northwestern University Press and see if they can send me copies. Ace!

Thanks both.

Thursday 15 June 2006

Paul Griffiths says...

This is shameful. There's one more Barraqué piece based on 'The Death of Virgil': ' delà du hasard...' A two-disc album on cpo has all three - together with the four other works that were all the composer wanted heard. Odd that his music at present salvages Broch for the great British market....

Sunday 18 June 2006

Stephen Mitchelmore says...

I have a copy of "The Death of Virgil" and have had so for perhaps 15+ years. Never read it though. FYI though, there's an essay on Broch in Blanchot's "The Book to Come".

Wednesday 21 June 2006

Paul Griffiths says...

It was the Blanchot essay that brought 'The Death of Virgil' to the notice of Foucault, who gave a copy of the book to Barraqué. Monde petit.

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Memorial Tablet

Squire nagged and bullied till I went to fight,
(Under Lord Derby’s Scheme). I died in hell—
(They called it Passchendaele). My wound was slight,
And I was hobbling back; and then a shell
Burst slick upon the duck-boards: so I fell
Into the bottomless mud, and lost the light.

At sermon-time, while Squire is in his pew,
He gives my gilded name a thoughtful stare:
For, though low down upon the list, I’m there;
‘In proud and glorious memory’... that’s my due.
Two bleeding years I fought in France, for Squire:
I suffered anguish that he’s never guessed.
Once I came home on leave: and then went west...
What greater glory could a man desire?

-- Siegfried Sassoon
Collected Poems (Faber and Faber)

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The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or two

Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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The New Spirit of Capitalism The New Spirit of Capitalism
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Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM
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