Little Star has posted “Two Tutors,” an early story by Thomas Bernhard. The story is part of a forthcoming book of prose originally published in German in 1967, but now translated into English for the first time.
Conversation as the expression of the most absurd human miseries is not possible for us. As far as conversation is concerned we are both such characters who must avoid it in order to save ourselves in a totalitarian madness from being frightened to death. Today, too, no conversation came about. We walk well outside the town and above it and in the middle of it through a grotesque alpine limestone flora, constantly at the mercy of critical observation and constantly making critical observations. The soothing effect of a conversation—we do not permit ourselves such a thing. In fact what the new tutor during our walk today had initially taken the liberty of judging a “confession,” he already described, after only a couple of sentences, as if he wanted from the outset to prevent any intervention on my part in this “confession,” to make it impossible, as merely a remark.