The Lunatics               The Inmates
Thomas Bernhard
translated by James Reidel

What follows is James Reidel’s translation of a sixteen-page poem written early in Thomas Bernhard’s career and originally published privately. Though not all of Bernhard’s obsessions surface in the poem—the prose passages in particular possess the logic and the structure of thought that would characterize Bernhard’s first novel Frost and the novels that followed it. Every attempt has been made to preserve the original (and sometimes eccentric) spacing and pagination of the original.

We would like to acknowledge Bernhard’s publisher, Suhrkamp Verlag, for their willingness to allow us to reprint this poem on the internet.


Privately printed in Klagenfurt, Austria, 1962. Copyright © 1991 Suhrkamp Verlag.
The italicized “quotations,” which suggest the writings of Martin Heidegger, are invented.