The Notes or On Non-premature Reconciliation Ludwig Hohl, Tess Lewis, Joshua Cohen

The Margellos World Republic of Letters
Publication date:
19 Oct 2021
Yale University Press
392 pages: 197 x 127mm
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A collection of illuminating observations on life and art, from an acclaimed Swiss modernist

Revered by Bertolt Brecht and Max Frisch as one of Switzerland’s most commanding writers, Ludwig Hohl spent most of his waking hours with a pen in hand, collecting quotes from others and recording ruminations of his own. Composed between 1934 and 1936 during his residence in the Netherlands in a state of “extreme spiritual desolation,” The Notes is Hohl’s magnum opus: an assemblage of his epiphany-like observations, disparate in subject yet threaded together by a relentless exploration of the nature and origins of creativity.
Inspired by Spinoza, Goethe, and many others, The Notes contends with the purpose of work, the vitality of art, and the inevitability of death—a valiant, uncompromising exercise in hope against the devastating backdrop of twentieth-century Europe. This abridged edition, expertly translated by Tess Lewis and with an illuminating foreword by Joshua Cohen, introduces the reader to this remarkable work and its writer.

Ludwig Hohl (1904–1980), known for his fiction, memoirs, poetry, and reportage, is a preeminent figure in twentieth-century Swiss literature. Tess Lewis is an essayist and critic, as well as a translator of German and French works. Joshua Cohen is the award-winning author of six novels, along with collections of short fiction and nonfiction. His most recent novel is The Netanyahus.

"Ludwig Hohl is a great discovery, an unjustly neglected author.”—Susan Bernofsky, author of Clairvoyant of the Small: The Life of Robert Walser