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Young Torless Paperback – 1 Feb 1982

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Paperback, 1 Feb 1982
£46.91 £0.14
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x99603090) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99607c78) out of 5 stars brilliant 19 May 2000
By Mark H. - Published on
Format: Paperback
this book gave me the creepers. i read this short novel in a class on existential philosophy, and it's the only piece except for sartre's nausea that has stuck with me all these years.
without revealing too much, the plot revolves around several young boys at a boarding school who torture a fellow student-- to see what will happen in a philosophical sort of way. disturbing, haunting, suspenseful, beautiful, profound.
not for the faint of heart.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99607ccc) out of 5 stars From Back Cover 23 July 2009
By Avid Reader - Published on
Format: Paperback

Within the confines of an Austrian military school, four adolescent boys become enmeshed in a disturbingly brutal rite of passage: Torless - the witness whose philosophical detachment is threatened by a brief yet violent brush with homosexuality; Basini - the victim, effeminate, weak, seductively passive; Beineberg - the sinister mystic capable of inflicting cold-blooded mental anguish; and Reiting - the unscrupulous manipulator whose power rests on dehumanization through debasing physical torture.
HASH(0x9a8c84c8) out of 5 stars Essential reading -- an historically important book 17 Jan. 2016
By Charles - Music Lover - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First, an exposition on my reading experience overall: I found reading "Young Torless" at times very slow. It is a book that centers around -- not only the actual external experiences that form the book's plot -- Torless's internal reactions and observations of what is happening around him, and to him. The novel centers around introspection, philosophical instrospection, that can be quite daunting. What makes the book brilliant, in my humble opinion, are the turns of phrase that come out of tons of exposition that illuminate the human condition clearly, even though surrounded by the minutiae that seeks to confuse and obscure our motivations from ourselves.

Second, a comment on the book as a historical piece: Given the book's plot, and how the plot unfolds, this is essential reading on several levels. The shows how a person can be progressively demonized and made to appear as "less than" human. In this way, the aggresssors become increasingly justified in their committing their torturous acts. Basini is literally and figuratively stripped of his humanity so methodically that the process belies conscious description. Torless, in refusing to commit himself to a position against Beineberg and Reising's aggressions -- perhaps due to his own jealousy of Basini - allows the process to continue. Basini, in his desperation for protection and comfort, willingly submits to Torless. The portrayal of blatant homo-sexual acts, in this book originally published in 1906 or 1907, is striking and bold, yet, not surprisingly, utterly impersonal.

By all means, read "Young Torless," if less for enjoyment than for historical purposes. I intend to read Robert Musil's "The Man Without Qualities" at some point in the future.
HASH(0x9a82d21c) out of 5 stars Torless Agonist 10 Feb. 2009
By Old Dog - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Set in a military academy in late 19th century Austria, this brilliant debut novel is a meditation on the primordial symbiosis between cruelty and sexual perversion, and, unfortunately, offers a parable for politics and a paradigm for media in the 20th and 21st centuries (I'm thinking of Passolini's effusions, and of certain recent 'home-made' videos of TV and Internet infamy). The style foreshadows Musil's later masterworks--being part graduate-seminar paper and part narrative; but in this debut effort the style is stark whereas later Musil would be noted for his skillful irony (a dilettant's skill). Apart from the stark prose, somewhat vitiated, I feel, by aforementioned seminar paperosis, this novel reminds us why Freud was a product of Vienna. I mean, such frank accounts of the sex drive would not be allowed in English literature (including American) for decades thereafter. Fowler's Lord of the Flies merely hints at the Big Issue. Nevertheless, to be read with Wilde's Picture of..., Conrad's Secret Sharer, Dickens's Mystery of Edwin Drood as depicting the struggles (Die Verwirrungen) of a rounded soul. (Casting stones, are we?) By the way, Musil greatly admired the poetry of Rilke, who as a young boy had been dumped into the very same boarding school that young Musil would attend. Not Mark Twain's view of boyhood, a la Rousseau.
HASH(0x99608810) out of 5 stars A dark and disturbing look at adolescence 20 Feb. 2005
By gac1003 - Published on
Format: Paperback
Young Torless and his classmates study at a private boys' school in Austria. He feels somewhat apart from the rest of his classmates, wondering what his place in the scheme of things is. Then, two of his "friends" accuse another classmate of scheming and thievery, but instead of reporting it, they decide to take matters into their own hands. Torless witnesses the sexual degradations through which the accused is placed, which only heightens Torless' need to understand things. Unwittingly, he finds himself physically drawn to the accused boy, something which he is unable to comprehend but against which he is powerless.

A dark and disturbing look at how adolescents learn about their place in the world through power, brutality and sexuality. I was confused by parts of it, as the author threw in much psychoanalysis and delving into Kant which made it difficult to follow the story, reading more along the lines of an essay at times. The ending is dissatisfying and doesn't give any clear solution.
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