Correction by Bernhard, Thomas

By Bernhard, Thomas

The scientist Roithamer has devoted the final six years of his lifestyles to "the Cone," an edifice of mathematically detailed development that he has erected within the middle of his family's property in honor of his liked sister. now not lengthy after its finishing touch, he's taking his personal lifestyles. As an unnamed pal items together'literally, from millions of slips of papers and one troubling manuscript'the puzzle of Rotheimer's Read more...

summary: The scientist Roithamer has devoted the final six years of his existence to "the Cone," an edifice of mathematically distinct development that he has erected within the heart of his family's property in honor of his liked sister. now not lengthy after its crowning glory, he is taking his personal lifestyles. As an unnamed buddy items together'literally, from millions of slips of papers and one troubling manuscript'the puzzle of Rotheimer's breakdown, what emerges is the tale of a genius forever forced to right and refine his perceptions till the one logical end is the negation of his personal soul. thought of by means of many critics to be Thomas Bernhard's masterpiece, Correction is a cunningly crafted and unforgettable meditation at the stress among the need for perfection and the data that it's impossible

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A body needs at least three points of support, not in a straight line, to fix its position, so Roithamer had written. ) no longer impossible. It was in Hoeller’s garret that he found the conditions necessary and most favorable to thought, for getting the mechanism of his thought going in the most natural, most undistracted way, all he had to do was to come to Hoeller’s garret from wherever he might be, and the mechanism worked. Whenever I was in England, he wrote, no matter how I felt, I was always thinking, if only I could be in Hoeller’s garret now, always when he had reached a dead end in his thinking and in his feelings, if only I could be in Hoeller’s garret now, but on the other hand he realized that settling for good in Hoeller’s garret was not synonymous with always being able to think freely and without distraction, and that, if he could stay forever in Hoeller’s garret, it would mean nothing less than his own total destruction, if I stay in Hoeller’s garret longer than need be, he wrote, I’ll be done for in no time at all, that’s the end of me, he thought, which is why he had always stayed in Hoeller’s garret for only a definite period of time, how long exactly he could never foresee, but it had to be strictly limited, he must have considered a stay of fourteen to fifteen days in the Hoeller garret ideal, as his notes imply, always just fourteen or fifteen days, every time, on the fourteenth or fifteenth day, according to Hoeller, Roithamer always packed up in a flash and went off to Altensam, though he did not necessarily stay in Altensam for any length of time very often, but only for the shortest possible time, as little time as he could manage, the absolute, inescapable minimum, no more, he had even been known to take up residence in Hoeller’s house with every intention of going on to Altensam after fourteen days or so, but instead of going on to Altensam where he was expected, where his arrival had already been announced, after fourteen or fifteen days, he went from Hoeller’s place in the Aurach gorge straight back to England, because his stay at Hoeller’s place, in the Hoeller ambience, had not only given him enough, but had actually advanced his thinking so much that he did not need to stop at Altensam but could go straight back to England, specifically Cambridge, where he was always both studying and teaching simultaneously and, as he always kept saying, he never exactly knew at any particular moment whether he was studying or teaching because, as he said, when I was teaching, I was in fact basically studying, and when I was studying, I was basically teaching.

He had always perceived Altensam as a state of imbecility, and those who lived in Altensam, his relatives, as the imbeciles in this imbecility, and there was nothing he feared more than a return to this imbecility and to these imbeciles. Even if the torment of absence and of pursuing, of advancing one’s objective, one’s intended continuous improvement of one’s intellectual condition, is the greatest torment, and even if the hardship of taking root so far from home, in a so-called foreign country, is the greatest and most depressing of hardships, I shall not return to this state of imbecility and to the imbeciles of Altensam and Austria, he noted.

It was touching to find all of Roithamer’s books and articles and plans and his writing utensils and thinking aids still right there in Hoeller’s garret, just as he had left them. Hoeller’s garret was where all the ideas and designs for building the Cone had come into being, here all the ideas had originated, all the plans were sketched, all the necessary decisions for building the Cone had been made here, it was from here Roithamer had directed everything. ), precisely such a man and head and character and mind, so contradictory a character and mind and man as that, who used his unexpected inheritance in the service of an idea everyone considered crazy, an idea that had suddenly entered his crazy head and never again left it, the idea to use his sudden windfall for building his sister a cone, a cone-shaped habitation, and not only that, but most incredible of all, to erect this giant cone not where such a house might normally be located, but to design it and put it up and complete it way out in the middle of the Kobernausser forest, they had all thought at first that he would never go through with it, but little by little he made it happen, suddenly it was no longer only inside his head or clearly evident only in the intensity of his preparatory studies, but all at once the road through the Kobernausser forest was actually being built, a road that would go to the exact center of the forest at an angle he had calculated for months, working nights, because he meant to build that cone in the exact center of the Kobernausser forest, and he did build it in the exact center of the Kobernausser forest, the calculations all had to be made by him personally because, now I have to come out with it, he hated all architects and he hated all professional builders with the exception of the manual workers, he kept at it relentlessly until he had all his figures as to the exact center of the Kobernausser forest just right so that he could begin with the digging of the foundations, it was a rude shock to all the people who had until this moment refused to believe that Roithamer’s crazy scheme would actually be executed, when the road to the center of the Kobernausser forest was actually built and he had started digging the foundations, he had come back from England, once he had done his calculations, and installed himself in Hoeller’s garret and had, by supervising every detail personally, so expedited the building of the road and the digging of the foundations that the experts were mystified that one man could so speed up a project that the road was finished in half the normal time and the foundations dug in a third of the time normally required for such a job.

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