I’ve been reading fictionalized case histories by Ferdinand von Schirach, a German defense lawyer (grandson of a Nazi official!). Guilt is a spectacular trove of existential narrative gambits. Ditto his Crime. These make rich companion reading to The Examined Life, case histories by psychoanalyst-author Stephen Grosz. Recently I finally cracked open Thomas Bernhard, wary for years of his run-ons and non-paragraphs (suffocating prospect). Indeed, he’s a genius—a thrilling misanthrope who includes his own mirror among mankind. The Woodcutters and Wittgenstein’s Nephew. I was just in Vienna, too; and learned that von Schirach’s grandfather ran it for the Nazis…
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