"I come to Vienna to refresh my ambivalence," he said.
The profile of Frederic Morton in the NYT this morning is a little gift for us. Morton is the type of person LI looks up to absolutely -- the type of person we have tried to be, alas for our well-being, since the age of 20. The Viennese intellectual, who sharpens his teeth by savaging the Viennese intellectual -- which is the way of Karl Kraus.
Morton does seem less acerbic, less prone to bite, than such as Canetti or Musil. But that his books are being taken so seriously by Vienna says a lot about that place. Including why it isn't the Vienna of the Nervous Splendor that Morton writes about.
Perhaps Thomas Bernhard was the last of those savages -- the ones who tore, with bleeding claws, at a splendor they found to be half criminal in its beginnings and half rotten in its endings. Sentiment and petty pilfering, leading up to the auto de fe of the Jews -- that was pretty much the Bernhardian view. And the view of Canetti, I think. We are closer, however, to the geniality of Morton. We see less animal in the menschlische Maul than those three.