Books: Pre-Hitler Germany

THE SLEEPWALKERS (648 pp.)—Hermann Broch—Pantheon ($5).

If any readers have any nostalgic hankerings for the literary days of the early '30s, The Sleepwalkers should make them think again. Its reissue summons up memories of the debates on proletarian literature, the analyses of the bankruptcy of the bourgeoisie, the expositions of dialectical materialism, the burning of the books, the reports of the street fights in Berlin. In that period before and just after Hitler took power, the books coming out of Germany had a confused, bitter, gnarled violence foreshadowing the impending catastrophe. It was probably one of the ugliest periods in literary history....

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