January 20th, 2011 / 2:24 pm

Bernhard the Ever-Quotable

From Thomas Bernhard’s The Loser:

We study better in hostile surroundings than in hospitable ones, a student is always well advised to choose a hostile place of study rather than a hospitable one, for the hospitable place will rob him of the better part of his concentration for his studies, the hostile place on the other hand will allow him total concentration, since he must concentrate on his studies to avoid despairing, and to that extent one can absolutely recommend Salzburg, probably like all other so-called beautiful towns, as a place of study, of course only to someone with a strong character, a weak character will inevitably be destroyed in the briefest time.


  1. herocious

      This didn’t reach Bellow’s warmer feelings. Probably.

  2. c2k

      Nor does it reach his (Bellow’s) bottomless hatred of the Nazis, especially the Austrian ones (not in this passage, although generally, yes, Bernhard does reach there).

      Bellow’s thoughts on Salzburg (beautiful? so-called beautiful?) remains unclear. He visited many times.

  3. c2k


  4. Jonathan

      Ultimately he was enamored of failure, if not even a little smitten, I thought, had clung to this failure of his until the end. I could actually say he was unhappy in his unhappiness but he would have been even more unhappy had he lost his unhappiness overnight, had it been taken away from him from one moment to the next, which is again proof that basically he wasn’t unhappy at all but happy, and by virtue of and with his unhappiness.

  5. herocious

      What are your thoughts on Salzburg?

  6. Anonymous


  7. Anonymous


  8. Anonymous