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The Class (Paperback) Loot Price: R211
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The Class (Paperback): Hermann Ungar
The Class (Paperback): Hermann Ungar

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The Class (Paperback)

Hermann Ungar; Translated by Mike Mitchell

Series: Dedalus European Classics

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Loot Price R211 Discovery Miles 2 110

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The first English translation of Czech author Ungar's extremely interesting second novel, published in 1927, preceding the better-known The Maimed (1928, 2002). Josef Blau, schoolteacher, has a full-blown case of paranoia, driven by an unrelenting sense of inferiority from having been born to the working class. Now, he's absolutely certain that his group of 18 high-school boys-all from the very well-off classes-are simply biding their time, waiting for him to make some mistake that will let them get the upper hand and ride rough-shod over him, revealing that his authority over them is baseless, humiliating him utterly. A more strict keeper of order, therefore, you could hardly imagine than Josef Blau, so stiff and formal that Ungar never even mentions him except by his full name: Josef Blau-not even in the scenes in his apartment at home with his pregnant (and very pretty) wife Selma, his mother-in-law, and their frequent visitor Uncle Bobek, gourmand, souse, sponge, nostalgist, braggart. What will happen? On an outing into the countryside, Josef Blau is certain he hears his boys taunt him-especially when he then senses them turning toward Herr Leopold, the handsome, companionable, athletic new instructor. Things only worsen as Josef Blue runs into money trouble, thinks Herr Leopold is wooing Selma, and believes that the richest boy in his class has a secret that he's about to use to humiliate his instructor. Josef Blau's childhood friend, the very strange and bitterly class-conscious Modlizki, suggests a plan to turn the tables and get something to blackmail the boy in return-by spying on him in the red light district. But there's a snag, and the plan brings results more horrifying than ever intended or imagined, and the question becomes one of whether Josef Blau can survive at all. Like a glimpse three-quarters of a century back into a world that has wholly vanished: formal, constrained, class-ridden, quintessentially European. Fascinating. (Kirkus Reviews)
Josef Blau is a high school teacher who comes from a poor background, poorer than that of most of his pupils. The insecurity this causes him leads to an obsession with order and discipline. He senses his pupils watching him, waiting for the slightest weakness; the least infringement, he feels, will lead to the complete collapse of this tightly ordered world. The other focus of his obsession is his attractive wife. Despite al the evidence and her assurances, he cannot believe she will be faithful to him. He forces her to shave her hair and wear clothes that are no more than shapeless sacks, yet still cannot conquer his fears. Catastrophe is looming and, once the first breach is made inevitable. 'We are all schoolchildren, ' Blau says, 'in one great class...


Imprint: Dedalus
Country of origin: United Kingdom
Series: Dedalus European Classics
Release date: 2003
First published: 2005
Authors: Hermann Ungar
Translators: Mike Mitchell
Dimensions: 198 x 126 x 14mm (L x W x T)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 180
ISBN-13: 978-1-903517-19-2
Barcode: 9781903517192
Subtitles: German
Categories: Books > Fiction > General & literary fiction > Modern fiction
LSN: 1-903517-19-2

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