Old Masters

A Comedy

Thomas Bernhard

Translated by James Reidel

Illustrations by Nicolas Mahler


6.75 x 9.5 inches, 160pp. April 2018

ISBN : 9780857424709

Rs  599.00 (PB)
$21.50 (PB)
£16.99 (PB)

Buy (PB)

Thomas Bernhard’s Old Masters has been called his 'most enjoyable novel' by the New York Review of Books. It’s a wild satire that takes place almost entirely in front of Tintoretto’s White-Bearded Man, on display in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, as two typically Viennese pedants irreverently, even contemptuously, take down high culture, society, state-supported artists, Heidegger and much more.


This graphic novel presents Mahler’s typically minimalist cartoons alongside new translations of selected passages from the novel. The result is a version of Old Masters that is strikingly new, yet still true to Bernhard’s bleak vision and to the novel’s outrageous proposition that the perfect work of art is truly unbearable to even think about—let alone behold.

Thomas Bernhard grew up in Salzburg and Vienna, where he studied music. In 1957, he began a second career as a playwright, poet, and novelist. He went on to win many of the most prestigious literary awards of Europe.


James Reidel is poet, translator, editor and biographer. In addition to the works of Georg Trakl, he has translated novels by Franz Werfel and poetry by Thomas Bernhard, among others. He is the biographer of poet Weldon Kees and author of two volumes of poetry.

German List