The Guiltless

Trade Paper – $19.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-6078-1
Publication Date
December 2000
Page Count
292 pages
Trim Size
5 1/2 x 8 1/2

The Guiltless

Hermann Broch

Murder, lust, shame, hypocrisy, and suicide are at the center of The Guiltless,Hermann Broch's postwar novel about the disintegration of European society in the decades preceding the Second World War. Broch's characters--apathetic, cruel, or indolent--are trapped in their indifference, prisoners of a "wakeful somnolence." They may mention the "imbecile Hitler," yet they prefer sex or a nap to any social action. Broch thought such ethical perversity and political apathy paved the way for Nazism and hoped that by revealing Germany's underlying guilt he could purge indifference from his own and future generations. In The Guiltless, Broch captures how ennui--a very human failing--evolves into something dehumanizing and dangerous.

About the Author

Hermann Broch (1886-1951) had careers as a mathematician, engineer, and director of a Viennese textile firm before publishing his first work, the trilogy Sleepwalkers, in 1930-32. In 1935 he spent 5 months in a Nazi prison; in 1940 he emigrated to the U.S.

Ralph Manheim has translated Danilo Kiš's Hourglass and Günter Grass's Tin Drum and has edited translated novels and plays by Bertolt Brecht, Hermann Hesse, and Erich Maria Remarque.

"[T]he greatest novelist European literature has produced since Joyce." --George Steiner
"Hermann Broch belongs in that tradition of great twentieth-century novelists who have transformed, almost beyond recognition, one of the classic art forms of the nineteenth century." --Hannah Arendt