This site is intended as an informal space to share international discourse on the Austrian novelist, essayist, dramatist, scientist, mathematician, and thinker, Robert Musil, on his works, and his growing reception, and as a forum for English-speaking members of the International Robert Musil Society (Internationale Robert Musil Gesellschaft)(IRMG) as well as other interested persons.
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.