Monday, May 31, 2021

More Reviews of Theater Symptoms

Natasha Randall writes: 

Musil felt strongly that the crucial function of the arts was to incite aesthetic and ethical revelation, to disrupt a widespread moral stasis: “the most meaningful moments are those wherein we are enlivened by some mysterious thought that carries us beyond ourselves and into the vastness of the universal”. But to his dismay, and hence the titular “symptoms”, Musil saw corruption in Europe’s cultural sphere in the 1920s, a commodification, sensationalism, and a diluting of culture into the “culture industry”. He writes about the distinction between “illustrative” theatre (a theatre of tropes, artificiality and mimesis) and “creative” theatre (a living drama, a singular and complex experience). Musil, ever a master of imagery, gives it to us as “the vast difference between ossification and growth”. 

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Ionna Kostopoula writes: 

But what does Musil diagnose exactly? The inversion of the German Symptomen-Theater into Theater Symptoms in English harks back to the genos-eidos relation: We can, on the one hand, imagine the accumulated symptoms as cases, concrete examples, and elements of dysfunctional plays, and, on the other hand, a theater of symptoms with an inherent pathology, where the roots of the problem might go deeper than they seem. This is a differentiation crucial to Musil, who sensibly reacts to the public outcry by Viennese theater directors that appeared in the newspaper Der Wiener Tag of April 20th, 1924. From their point of view, they diagnose the crisis but also see the recovery of theater. Yet they do not seem to bother seeking the cause of this crisis. In The “Decline” of the Theater (Theater Symptoms III), Musil responds with: 

    In Vienna — dependent upon the state of the market, the disastrous franc speculation, and     the like — there is suddenly a new condition, which they call the decline of the theater. I     don’t believe in it. What is remarkable about this situation is not the continuing course of     this crisis, but the circumstances surrounding its outbreak.

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Maura Del Serra writes:

Questo terzo volume degli scritti completi del grande romanziere, drammaturgo, critico e saggista austriaco (1880-1942), esponente di punta del modernismo europeo, curata e tradotta in inglese con appassionata e documentata fedeltà dalla studiosa Genese Grill per la raffinata ed eclettica Contra Mundum Press, costituisce un prezioso contributo alla conoscenza dell’articolata e poliedrica opera di Musil. Un prezioso longseller non solo per la koinè anglofona – genetica od acquisita – del nostro mondo culturale globalizzato, ma, in primis, per i cultori europei ed italiani dell’alta letteratura, filosofia, drammaturgia e saggistica moderna, nei suoi fondamenti etici, espressivi e stilistici.

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