Friday, November 1, 2013

manuscripts!

Musil Manuscript
 There will be an exhibit of the manuscripts of Emily Dickinson and Robert Walser at the Drawing Center in New York City come mid-November which could only be more exciting were Musil's manuscripts added to the conversation.
www.drawingcenter.org/en/drawingcenter/5/.../9/.../dickinson-walser/‎

I believe I read somewhere that Walser's Microscripts were generally written out without corrections or additions. Musil and Dickinson, on the other hand, were endless revisers. Musil's manuscripts, which you can see in facsimile in the Klagenfurter Ausgabe, are complex and beautiful maps of his thinking process. More is crossed out than is retained. And this economy of paring and parsing goes on and on for thousands of pages and thousands of days and nights and for years and decades. In our time of digital erasure, where there is little trace of the writer's mind, these documents that mark the writer's discriminating excisions and alternate divagations are more precious than ever. One might even ask whether the thinking process itself will be preserved without the physical palimpsest that traditionally preceded it. Back to paper and pens, friends! Let us endeavor to leave a record of our struggles to come to terms and in so doing ensure that we really are grappling with words and ideas and images in heroic fashion, not merely casually tapping and typing.


1 comment:

  1. I once heard Marie Frisé, by the way, who is a fiction writer, read a story called "Scenes from a Marriage" in which she portrays her husband, Adolf Frisé, the grand-father of Musil scholarship, as an inveterate scribbler on the backs of envelopes. He apparently preferred to write on envelope backs, in tiny writing, and collected them in bundles. See Marie Frisé: "Szenen einer Ehe". In: Heimatbuch Kreis Viersen. Viersen 2011. I have been wanting to translate this story, but, alas, have not yet gotten around to it.

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