Friday, November 2, 2012

The Finished Book

The World as Metaphor in Robert Musil's The Man without Qualities: Possibility as Reality has arrived. It feels rather odd, and very anticlimactic. What did Musil say about how the artist feels about finishing? It is at least somewhat true for the scholar!

         "He loves creation as long as he is creating it, but his  love turns away from the finished portions. For the artist must also love what is most hateful in order to shape it, but what he has already shaped, even if it is good, leaves him cold; it becomes so bereft of love that he hardly still understands himself in it, and the moments when his love returns to delight in what it has done are rare and unpredictable. And so one could also think: What lords it over us loves what it creates; but this love approaches and withdraws from the finished part of creation in a long ebbing flow and a short returning swell. This idea fits the fact that souls and things of the world are like dead people who are sometimes reawakened for seconds....The world as it is [or: the finished world], sin! The possible world, love!" (MwQ, 1224)

 On to the next, then. . . or maybe a revised edition?

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