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Old Masters: A Comedy (Phoenix Fiction) Paperback – November 15, 1992


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Product Details

  • Series: Phoenix Fiction
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; Reprint edition (November 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226043916
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226043913
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #704,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

About the Author

Widely acclaimed as a novelist, playwright, and poet, Thomas Bernhard (1931-89) won many of the most prestigious literary prizes of Europe, including the Austrian State Prize, the Bremen and Brüchner prizes, and Le Prix Séguier.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Abell on March 17, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thomas Bernhard must have been the bane of the Austrian cultural world during his lifetime. His favorite style is an endless, run-on paragraph, seething with rage and pain at every turn. If you don't catch that these crabby narrators are constantly undermining their own credibility, you might not see how funny these books are. Old Masters involves an old musicologist, who spends every other day in front of the same painting in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. This 150-page assault on Western art and music (few are spared: Mahler, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, and especially Bruckner are given real tongue-lashings, and at one point he implies the painting he always looks at is a forgery) might annoy you, until you realize that, as flawed as these great works might be, they're all we have to keep us going day to day. Life without these Old Masters would be unbearable. The narrator is slow to admit this, but when the admission comes, it's heart-breaking. For someone to complain this vigorously about the limits of Austrian art and culture, he must have loved his homeland very dearly indeed. You won't be disappointed in this one.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ian Muldoon on April 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
This a book about two grumpy old men. " ..he does not like solar radiation. He avoids the sun, there is nothing he shuns more than the sun. 'I hate the sun, you know that I hate the sun more than anything in the world,' he says. What he likes best are foggy days, on foggy days he leaves the house very early in the morning, actually takes a walk, which he does not normally do, for basically he hates walking. I hate walking, he says,it seems so pointless to me. I walk, and while I am walking I keep thinking how I hate walking, I have no other thoughts at the time, I cannot understand that there are people who are able to think of something other than that walking is pointless and useless, he says." If you cannot find this very funny then this book is not for you. In 156 pages there are no paragraphs, or chapters. But there is excellent prose and conversations on philosophy of life, art, suicide, class, Catholicism, nationalism, culture......life. Very funny and perhaps sad too, but in the end strangely exhilarating. A wonderful read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Selçuk Altun on December 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
Yes,it is enjoyable and considering the dark and disturbing contexts of his other novels it is indeed a comedy.Yet it is seriously constructed and top quality novella.
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