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New Left Review I/237, September-October 1999


Michael Sprinker

The Grand Hotel Abyss

A considerable part of the leading German intelligentsia, including Adorno, have taken up residence in the ‘Grand Hotel Abyss. . . a beautiful hotel, equipped with every comfort. . . And the daily contemplation of the abyss, between excellent meals or artistic entertainments, can only heighten the enjoyment of the subtle comforts offered.’ [1] Georg Luk£s, Theory of the Novel: A Historico-Philosophical Essay on the Forms of Great Epic Literature, trans. Anna Bostock, Cambridge, ma 1971, p. 22. The quotation comes from Luk£s’s 1962 Preface; the text was originally drafted in 1914–15 and first published in 1920. The passage cited here refers to the situation of the German intelligentsia in the heyday of the Federal Republic, not to the time when Theory of the Novel was written.

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