Stock Image

The Loser

Bernhard, Thomas

4,837 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0394572394 / ISBN 13: 9780394572390
Published by Knopf, Bx-238, 1991
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Apollo Books (Brooklyn, NY, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since December 6, 2005

Quantity Available: 1

Buy Used
Price: US$ 74.95 Convert Currency
Shipping: Free Within U.S.A. Destination, Rates & Speeds
Add to basket

30 Day Return Policy

About this Item

Hardcover. 8vo. Knopf. 1991. 189 pgs. First Edition/First Printing. DJ in VG shape with light shelf-wear present to the DJ. No ownership marks present. Text is clean and free of marks, binding tight and solid, boards clean with no wear present. Photos sent upon request. Bx-238; 8.10 X 5.10 X 1.10 inches; 189 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 44368

Ask Seller a Question

Bibliographic Details

Title: The Loser

Publisher: Knopf, Bx-238

Publication Date: 1991

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Edition: First Edition; First Printing.

About this title


Thomas Bernhard was one of the most original writers of the twentieth century. His formal innovation ranks with Beckett and Kafka, his outrageously cantankerous voice recalls Dostoevsky, but his gift for lacerating, lyrical, provocative prose is incomparably his own.

One of Bernhard's most acclaimed novels, The Loser centers on a fictional relationship between piano virtuoso Glenn Gould and two of his fellow students who feel compelled to renounce their musical ambitions in the face of Gould's incomparable genius. One commits suicide, while the other-- the obsessive, witty, and self-mocking narrator-- has retreated into obscurity. Written as a monologue in one remarkable unbroken paragraph, The Loser is a brilliant meditation on success, failure, genius, and fame.
From the Trade Paperback edition.


For music lovers, perfectionists, and estheticians, Thomas Bernhard's The Loser (1983) poses an irresistible drama of failed excellence. In 1953 three friends, among whom is the famed Glenn Gould, study with Horowitz. Rarely sleeping, hardly eating, they burn intensely with the white and ruthless flame of virtuosity. Only Gould ascends. But this is no conventional narrative--neat, action-driven, or linear. It opens with the specter of death--Gould's at 51, and a suicide. Art exalts even as it destroys, when the aspirant is found wanting. Both Wertheimer, the suicide, and the narrator turn their backs on their musical careers, thus triggering their process of "deterioration." What is the consequence of throwing it all away? And yet, what are the rewards of realized genius? After Gould becomes, indeed, Glenn Gould, the two friends go to visit him in Canada. "He had barricaded himself in his house. For life. All our lives the three of us have shared the desire to barricade ourselves from the world. All three of us were born barricade fanatics."

Bernhard fans will recognize the restrained rant, the execution of an idea carried to a logical, caustic extreme. The rant creates, of the novel, a grand philosophical speculation: What is devotion to one's art? What is it to truly understand one's art and to not misuse one's gift? And, alas, The Loser can also be read as the profound consequence of perfectionism, whereby all efforts to create or execute anything of note are squashed in the critical mind's ruthless self-scrutiny. The narrator works, for example, on his Glenn Gould essay for nine years, grateful, in the end, that he has published nothing. "How good it is that none of these imperfect, incomplete works has ever appeared, I thought, had I published them.... [T]oday I would be the unhappiest person imaginable, confronted daily with disastrous works crying out with errors, imprecision, carelessness, amateurishness." The one regenerative act seems to be that of self-destruction. Destruction, indeed, becomes the flip side of perfectionist rigor. Thomas Bernhard (1931-89) was his own unique genius and in The Loser, one of his most acclaimed novels, he creates a chilling portrait of tragic compulsion, teasing and testing our assumptions human behavior. --Hollis Giamatteo

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Store Description

I have been selling books for 20 years. I am a specialist in out of print and rare academic titles, art, history, military history and what I like to loosely describe as "Old and Interesting." Here is a helpful list of book terms that I use: Terms for Describing Condition These terms apply to books, dust jackets and magazines. As New is when the book is in the same immaculate condition in which it was published. There are no defects and the dust jacket, if issued with one, is perfect. Fine approaches the condition of "As New," but without being crisp. There may be minor defects, which are noted. Very Good describes a book that does show some small signs of wear but no tears on either binding or paper. Any defects are noted. Good describes the average used and worn book that has all pages or leaves present. All defects are noted. Fair is a well-worn book that has complete text pages but may lack endpapers, half title page, etc. All defects are noted. Poor describes a book that is sufficiently worn so that its only merit is as a reading copy. This book may be soiled, scuffed, stained or spotted and may have loose joints, hinges, pages, etc. All defects are noted. Ex-library books are always noted as such regardless of condition. Book Club Editions (BCE) are always noted as such regardless of condition. Boards are the actual hardcover material of the cover, front and back. Bookplate is usually a square illustrated sticker on which an owner writes his or her name, or on which the author has signed his or her name. Bumped refers to the bent or rounded corners of the boards. Browning or tanning refers to brown or tan looking pages or page edges that appear in some older books. Chip is a tiny piece missing from the edge of the dust jacket. Closed tear is a tiny rip in the dust jacket, but no material is missing (as in a chip). It can be "shut" and protected from further tearing with a Mylar cover. Cocked means the book is no longer square. If laid down, the book appears to be pushed (slanted) forward or backward from the spine. Creasing is where the dust jacket or pages have been bent, and then returned to its original state. Dampstain is a tan or gray stain resulting from water or other liquid damage. End papers or pastedowns are the sheets of paper pasted onto the inner covers, joining the book block to the covers. One side of the sheet is pasted to the inside cover, the other is left free (see FFEP). FFEP stands for front free-endpaper. This is the first page of any book. Though usually blank, it is a common place for an inscription. Foxing is the term used for the rust colored spots which occur on paper. This is the result of oxidation of both organic and iron impurities left behind during the paper making process. Front, top or bottom edge: These are the outside page edges. Loose is what happens to a book which has been read several times. The cover easily flaps open and the pages do not return to a tight condition. Heal or tail is the bottom of the spine. Head is the top of the spine. Mass-Market paperback is the most common paperback book, about four inches wide and seven inches high. Seen most often as "popular" fiction, science fiction and romance books. Mylar cover is the clear film that most fine bookshops use to cover and protect the dust jackets. Spine separation occurs at the head (top) of the spine where the fingers grab and pull the book from the shelf. After repeated pulling, the glue holding the outer spine board to the inner binding separates. Sunned is the fading of paper or binding as a result of sun exposure. Trade paperback is a softcover book which is generally large in size and made of better quality materials than a Mass-Market paperback. Wraps are the outer covers of a softcover (paperback) book or pamphlet.

Visit Seller's Storefront

Terms of Sale:

All items described to the best of my ability.

Returns are considered if the item is sent within 14 days of receipt with an
email explanation sent to me first or if the item fails to match the description
or if there was damage to the order. All refunds processed upon the receipt of
the book.

If you send a check please be aware that I will ship the book only when the
check clears.

If you are sending a money order from overseas please make sure that it is an

More Information
Shipping Terms:

Orders usually ship within 2 business days. Shipping costs are based on books weighing 2.2 LB, or 1 KG. If your book order is heavy or oversized, I will contact you to let you know that a shipping surcharge might be required.

Every book that is shipped domestically ships with a USPS tracking number. If you need the number, please email me.

Most books going overseas (unless it is 4to or larger) are shipped via USPS Global Priority Mail.

List this Seller's Books

Payment Methods
accepted by seller

Visa Mastercard American Express