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Our Philosopher

Our Philosopher

by Gert Hofmann, translated from the German by Eric Mace-Tessler, introduction by Michael Hofmann

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"O, it has happened little by little, as many things simply happen little by little, Mother said, and told us everything about Herr Veilchenfeld, as far as it was known to her.”

Germany, late 1930s. Walking into town on a hot summer evening, the elderly professor of philosophy Herr Veilchenfeld encounters a group of local drunks. He is humiliated and assaulted; his hair is shorn. The police “don’t interfere in such minor matters.”

What happens to Veilchenfeld is recounted by the young son of the doctor who attends the professor. The boy observes, listens in to his parents’ conversations, and asks for ice cream. He cannot know the true import of the events he witnesses.

Our Philosopher, first published in Germany in 1986 and now translated into English for the first time, is a salutary masterpiece about the destructive effects of persecution not only for the victims, but for the community as a whole.

Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681377582
Pages: 176
Publication Date:


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