Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Further on Gesellschaftsspiel concept

Five Islands, by Wayne Ashton
As I was falling asleep last night, I thought more about Wolf's thesis and book (discussed below) and realized this obvious other point: most of the pages of The Man without Qualities deal with two people existing outside of society, in what Musil calls "the Other Condition" of experiencing, within their gated little castle, or enisled on various island paradises or, at least metaphorically, within their own minds. They exile themselves from the parlour game that seems to be the subject of Wolf's book, with good reason, and engage in pursuits that might be considered timeless or anti-social, but which do, indeed, have important bearing on the society and life which they have rejected. Perhaps Wolf addresses this in his book. I hope so; because the latter, anti-social part of Musil's novel is all too often relegated to a failed experiment, a sort of adolescent dream which Musil is supposed to have rejected, despite the fact that he spent over 4o years writing about it and exploring it, despite the fact that he was still working on yet another revision of a draft chapter about that Other Condition, that he had been struggling with for decades (" Breaths of a Summer's Day") the day he died. Ulrich's 1-year "vacation from life,"  begun from inside society, spins out and away from it, while, I believe, providing important insights about how, ultimately to live in it, change it, expand it to explode the games of which  it all too often consists.


  1. Maishe Mirsky comments: "Again, the desire not just of the academic world, but of the world of Coetzee and other novelists committed to social realism, that tired old dog which wins most of the awards, is to confine Musil to the world of social criticism, rather than understanding his will to use fiction as a tool of the mind wishing to understand how imagination creates reality.
    You, Genese, belong to the world where Musil was headed from the mid thirties on."

    Thank you for the fellow feeling!

  2. Indeed, "how imagination creates reality"! That is, to my imagination, the reality of what concerned Musil first and foremost, thus the title of my book: "The World as Metaphor in RMS The Man without Qualities: Possibility as Reality"!