Where Conformity Meets Individuality
On the Edge of Reason Miroslav Krleža
Translation Zora Depolo
On the Edge of Reason reveals the fundamental chasm between conformity and individuality. As folly piles on folly, hypocrisy on hypocrisy, reason itself begins to give way, and the edge between reality and unreality disappears.
On the Edge of Reason is one of the great European novels of the first half of the twentieth century
The story is set in Zagreb. ‘Public folly is represented by the “top-hatted man”, homo cylindriacus: the doctors, rectors, deans, lecturers, veterinary surgeons, directors-general… : the official and professional world which the Yugoslav state had inherited from the Habsburg Empire.
The decline and fall of the narrator is the consequence of his almost accidental statement of the simple truth that the behaviour of Director-General Domacinski in 1918, in shooting a number of peasants who had invaded his property, had been criminal and insane. In the events that follow, the narrator is almost passive while the conventional world assails him with its weapons of rumour and exaggeration, its provocative ‘friendly advice’ and finally in the form of a trial where prosecutor, judge and public shout him down.’
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