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Jugend ohne Gott by Odön Von…
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Jugend ohne Gott (original 1937; edition 1994)

by Odön Von Horváth

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Member:RienP
Title:Jugend ohne Gott
Authors:Odön Von Horváth
Info:Frankfurt am Main Suhrkamp 1994
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Youth Without God by Ödön von Horváth (1937)

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» See also 2 mentions

English (4)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (8)
Showing 4 of 4
I had never heard of Horvath before this year, and now this is the second book I've read by him? I'm totally blaming Neversink Library.

So yes, this is another selection from Neversink LIbrary at Melville House Books. I tell you, their website is dangerous. Six of the books I've read this year were published by them, five of which I bought (one was from the library), and I have at least one more on my shelves and at least two on back-order. (I'm afraid if I check on the back-orders, I'll end up buying five more books, so it's best just to wait.)

Okay, so I loved this one. Much more accessible than The Eternal Philistine, this is a dark, dark story, even without the seedy satire. Youth WIthout God reads more like classic morality tales from Kafka and Camus. It is all the more impressive for its depiction of the heartlessness of the rising Nazi state when one is reminded that it was written before either Germany's annexation of Austria or its invasion of Poland. It's a place where the cruelty of schoolchildren isn't corrected, but encouraged as long as it is in the direction of the scapegoats of the state. Opinions contrary to official propaganda are suppressed and erased. Individual morality and conscience disappear. So where is there room for God?

It would be easy to read this story as simplistic and shallow, because it is so accessible. But there is a lot going on here just under the surface. Mediations on culpability, conviction and man's capacity for evil. A rewarding, but disturbing read. ( )
  greeniezona | Sep 20, 2014 |
Situated at the time between the world wars and narrated by an unnamed teacher who struggles with his profession as he slowly watches himself become instrument to the promotion of propaganda - this dark fable belongs to the best books I have ever read.

It speaks about the nature of guilt and the meaning of such a term in a perverted/corrupted society, brutalised by a war that lies behind and a holocaust yet to come. Horvárth's language is simple yet extremely poignant, some of he images he provokes will forever be glued to my inner lens and in very short chapters and an artful understatement he drives the story foreward, circeling one of it's main theme's, the existence of god, or of such a thing as meaning in a world that seems to have a become a statement of the absence of both.

I am not sure whether Michael Haneke has in part been inspired by this novella when writing and filming his Oscar winning movie 'Das weiße Band' ( The White Ribbon). However when reading this book, this film would be great company. Both of them I would whole-heartedly recommend.
( )
  jeoblivion | Dec 29, 2013 |
I may lose my Austrian passports for this but I utterly failed to connect with this book. Bechdel: Pass (borderline). ( )
  elmyra | Jun 4, 2010 |
I'll always associate one bad memory with this very good book. It was one of the ten we had to read for our oral exams at finals, it was the only one I didn't have time to reread and, of course, it was the one my teacher chose to test me in. Because I had liked it when we read it, I thought I remembered everything. When I didn't know the easy answer to the question, "why did he kill?", it was obvious that I'd miscalculated. It's been 10 years since then and I don't think I'll ever forget why he killed. Because he wanted to see someone die. And just because. That said, it really is a good book. ( )
1 vote Thalia | Apr 6, 2006 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ödön von Horváthprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fleckhaus, WillyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foral-Krischke, SusannaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krischke, Traugott.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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25. März. Auf meinem Tische stehen Blumen.
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
[...] was einer im Radio redet, darf kein Lehrer im Schulheft streichen.
Und während ich [die Schulaufsätze] weiterlese, höre ich immer das Radio: es lispelt, es heult, es bellt, es girrt, es droht - und die Zeitungen drucken es nach und die Kindlein, sie schreiben es ab.

[Abschnitt: "Die Neger"]
Seit es eine menschliche Gesellschaft gibt, kann sie aus Selbsterhaltungsgründen auf das Verbrechen nicht verzichten. Aber die Verbrechen wurden verschwiegen, vertuscht, man hat sich ihrer geschämt.
Heute ist man stolz auf sie.
Es ist eine Pest.
Wir sind alle verseucht, Freund und Feind. Unsere Seelen sind voller schwarzer Beulen, bald werden sie sterben. Dann leben wir weiter und sind doch tot.

[Abschnitt: "Die Pest"]
Ich trinke, ich trinke - Meine Damen und Herren, ich liebe den Frieden nicht! Ich wünsche uns allen den Tod! Aber keinen einfachen, sondern einen komplizierten - man müßte die Folter wieder einführen, jawohl: die Folter! Man kann nicht genug Schuldgeständnisse erpressen, denn der Mensch ist schlecht!

[Abschnitt: "Das Zeitalter der Fische"]
"Die Buben lesen alles. Aber sie lesen nur, um spötteln zu können. Sie leben in einem Paradies der Dummheit und ihr Ideal ist der Hohn. Es kommen kalte Zeiten, das Zeitalter der Fische."
"Der Fische?"
""Ich bin zwar nur ein Amateurastrolog, aber die Erde dreht sich in das Zeitalter der Fische hinein. Da wird die Seele des Menschen unbeweglich wie das Antlitz eines Fisches."

[Abschnitt: "Das Zeitalter der Fische"]
Die Pfade der Schuld berühren sich, kreuzen, verwickeln sich. Ein Labyrinth. Ein Irrgarten - mit Zerrspiegeln.
Jahrmarkt, Jahrmarkt!
Zahlt Buße und Strafe für die Schuld eures Daseins! Nur keine Angst, es ist zu spät! - -

[Abschnitt: "Der vorletzte Tag"]
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