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Old 04-20-2017   #1
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Topic Nominated Hermann Burger

http://www.asymptotejournal.com/spec...ermann-burger/

The entire article would be of interest to anyone interested in pessimistic literature, but here are a couple of snippets:

Quote
Tipping his hat to Wittgenstein, Burger entitled his 1989 apologia for suicide Tractatus Logico-Suicidalis. This sinister hint at the approaching disaster [Burger's own suicide] comprises 1046 “thanatological” aphorisms. With characteristic relentlessness, Burger exposes his private thanatology (“as we term the precepts and philosophy of the total dominion of death over life”) and “the grim science of killing the self” also known as suicidology.
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In a series of twenty quarto notebooks delivered as a School Report Addressed to the Inspectors’ Conference, to use the novel’s subtitle, Schilten [Burger's first novel] tells the story of Armin Schildknecht, a former schoolteacher who has been relieved of his duties on account of the distressing nature of his lessons. After losing his employment, Schildknecht buys the schoolhouse, moves into the attic, and composes a report to justify his actions. Rather than prepare his students for the life ahead, Schildknecht has tutored them in cemetery lore and death science, and commanded them to practice suspended animation, forcing them to lie in a covered hole in the floor reciting poetry to themselves while preparing for the eternal nothingness that awaits. Modeled on such Bernhardian chroniclers as Prince Sarau in Gargoyles or the painter Strauch in Frost, Schildknecht is the first in a long series of deranged protagonists who will voice Burger’s misgivings about the futility of habituating oneself to life.
None of Burger's books have yet been translated into English, but the above article links to a translation of an early short story:
http://www.asymptotejournal.com/fict...ergency-brake/
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Old 04-20-2017   #2
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Re: Hermann Burger

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I now have a reason to brush up on my German.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 04-20-2017   #3
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Re: Hermann Burger

I read "The Emergency Break." Everyone else ought to do the same.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 04-22-2017   #4
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Re: Hermann Burger

I too read "The Emergency Brake" and I was shocked by the story's brilliance. Now I need to read more Burger! Thank you, G., for introducing us to a writer whose work is not available for us to read.

How is it possible that no one has translated his novels into English?

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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Old 04-22-2017   #5
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Re: Hermann Burger

A story very much influenced by Durrenmatt. No wonder he tips his hat to "The Tunnel."

I'm not surprised Burger's works aren't available in translation. So much of Durrenmatt's work is still untranslated.

Unlike Burger, however, F. D. was known as "The Happy Pessimist."

A fine story. If Durrenmatt had written it, the ending would probably be even more surprising. The gentleman would pull the emergency brake only to find it was a dummy. No stopping allowed.
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