An Experiment in ,Zivilisationskritik': Carl Dallago and Hermann Broch's Vision of Nature in Die Verzauberung

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Book Chapter

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Hermann Broch und Der Brenner


In the shadow of the Alpine mountain Kuppron, a country doctor decides to record the events in the two villages of Ober- and Uterkuppron (Upper and Lower Kuppron) of the previous year in an attempt "des Wissens und des Vergessens habhaft [zu] werden" (KW3,9). The result is Hermann Broch's third novel, originally a fragment and posthumously published as Die Verzauberung. Framed by the doctor's general reflections on the processes of memory and nature in a foreword and afterword, the novel recounts the doctor's experiences chronologically.
His story begins with the arrival of the drifter Marius Ratti to the lower village of Unterkuppron and Ratti's rapid influence on the Miland farming family who gives him shelter. Apart from a brief excurse into his own past as he relays it in the novella known as Barbara, the doctor describes the rapid spread of Ratti's anti-Zivilisation ideology through the villages, the arrival of his henchman Wenzel, and ultimately, the sacrifice of Irmgard Miland at the hands of the village butcher Sabest.


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