The Demons: A Double-Volume Novel by Heimito von Doderer
Regarded by many as the most important Austrian novel of its era, Heimito von Doderer’s The Demons is a sweeping portrayal of Viennese society on the cusp of catastrophic and irrevocable change.
Narrated by retired civil servant Georg von Geyrenhoff, this monumental work takes readers on an intimate, multi-layered tour through Vienna’s cafés and kitchens, bedrooms and back alleys, modest apartments and artist’s ateliers, palatial parlors and wooded parks, a basement, and a burning palace.
As a great conductor harmonizes a hundred discordant instruments into a concert, so too Heimoto von Doderer has blended his riotous cast of characters into a symphony that chronicles the cataclysmic events that alter, even end, these characters’ lives.
Each note adds, however minutely, to the whole.
The paradoxes of this novel–which von Doderer wrote and revised over the course of twenty five years–are born from the paradoxes of Europe after the first world war, with its superficial peace and order layered over a festering decline and despair that erupts into World War II. But amidst the background of Vienna’s historical July Revolt, which culminated in the Palace of Justice set aflame, The Demons asks us to see significance in even the smallest kitchen fire too–to see the souls beneath the world-historical heavings.
The Wiseblood Double-Volume contains both an extended introduction by Martin Mosebach, “The Art of Archery and the Novel: The ‘Commentarii’ of Heimito von Doderer,” and an appendix with von Doderer’s lectures on the “Foundations and Function of the Novel.” Both of these works have been ably translated by Dr. Vincent Kling.
Double-Volume Page Length: 1,630
Double-Volume Pre-order Price: $35
Publication Date: January 29, 2024