Thursday, April 23, 2015

Book Launch Party and Reading

Please Join us for a book launch party and reading of my new translation of Robert Musil's small prose, Thought Flights (Contra Mundum Press, April, 2015) at the glamorous Zinc Bar, at 82 West Third Street, New York New York, on Sunday, May 10th, at 5 p.m., accompanied by Stephen Callahan reading from Seities, his collection of prose pieces in progress.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Friday, March 27, 2015

Thought Flights: Robert Musil's Small Prose will be Available in April from Contra Mundum Press. Cover Design by Alessandro Segalini.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015




My newest essay, "Ethics and Aesthetics are One: The Earnestness of High Modernism in Wittgenstein and Musil" is up on Numero Cinq.  Here is a link to the whole text: 

http://numerocinqmagazine.com/2015/02/02/ethics-and-aesthetics-are-one-the-earnestness-of-high-modernism-in-wittgenstein-and-musil-genese-grill/

But meanwhile, here is an appetizer: 


These two thinkers lived almost side-by-side on Rasmofskygasse in Vienna for about a year sometime between 1920 and 1921, possibly without ever making each other’s acquaintance. They were both snobs who craved discourse; both were scientists who had more faith in art than in philosophical logic; both were individualists who were suspicious of collectivism and resisted joining groups or being categorized into positions or ideologies[4]. They both rejected externally-imposed morals and social judgments in favor of a personal rigorous ethics and conduct of life. They both had ambivalent relationships with the scientific positivists of the Vienna Circle. In contrast to the members of this circle, both wanted to connect philosophy and science with aesthetics and ethics and make it meaningful for human life[5]. Both resisted theory in favor of experimental empiricism. Both had mystical experiences as soldiers in World War One, leading to puzzling relationships with something they both sometimes called “God”; both were mathematicians suspicious of mathematics; both were engineers and inventors; empiricists and idealists; pragmatists and utopians. Both looked to anthropology to present alternative possible ways to live; both loved Dostoevsky; both worked and wrote in a non-linear,[6] inter-disciplinary fashion; both liked to go to the movies. Both of them were obsessed with using language precisely; but both rejected language skepticism, while acknowledging the limits of language and knowledge; and both saw metaphor as the best possible mode of expressing certain experiences and truths. Both were so committed to the experimental method and a resistance to closure or final solutions that they were almost pathologically unable to finish their works. They are exemplars of a special breed of idealist-realists—a group of people who throughout history have simultaneously hugged the surface of the real “what is” while reaching for the ideal “what could be”; thinkers who have labored to establish what can and cannot be known or spoken, thinkers who have eschewed what Musil called “Schleudermystik” (wishy-washy mysticism) and Wittgenstein called “transcendental twaddle,” and, at the same time, kept at bay a nihilistic relativism or void of all values. (Other thinkers in this cadre include Thoreau, Blake, Novalis, and Nietzsche).

Monday, December 22, 2014

New Edition of Hyperion


The newest edition of Hyperion: On the future of Aesthetics, including some excerpts from my forthcoming collection of translations of Musil's short prose, is up and available for reading or download at these various sites: 

http://contramundum.net/hyperion/


Please enjoy and spread the words! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Hermit living in a Novel

I just found this wonderful sentence in some notes Musil wrote around 1914 (thus early on in his conception of his own novel) in a musing about the difference between novels, novellas, and dramas:

Why does no one write a novel of 25000 pages? An ancient forest of a novel, wherein one could live like a hermit lives in God?

Thursday, September 11, 2014