Diaries : Robert Musil 1899-1942

Diaries : Robert Musil 1899-1942

Mark Jay Mirsky

Language: English

Pages: 707

ISBN: 2:00106678

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The Diaries of Robert Musil are a secret look into the life and mind of a writer whose fiction embodies one of the twentieth century’s daring leaps of consciousness. Ranked with Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust, and James Joyce in the pantheon of European modernists, Musil attempted to apply the precision of his scientific training to the utmost bounds of the imagination. In a series of notebooks kept through most of his literary career, Musil reflected, often through stunning epigrams, on his childhood, his erotic life, his methods of creative thought and his fellow writers. An indispensable guide to his fiction, essays and plays, the pages of the diaries provide a skeleton key for his complex unfinished masterpiece The Man Without Qualities. Known for extreme personal reticence among his contemporaries, Musil in the diaries (which were never intended for publication), speaks nakedly of himself and the chaotic events he lived through.This selection from the diaries is based on the exhaustive 1976 German edition prepared by Adolf Frisé. Most of its sketches, anecdotes and personal reflections have been translated into English. An acute political and cultural observer, Musil recorded in these pages his experiences of Berlin at the outbreak of World War I and service in the Austrian army on the Italian Front. The last notebooks chronicle Hitler’s rise to power and Musil’s exile in Switzerland. The diaries are valuable in a number of ways: as a first-hand historical document of life in twentieth century central Europe, as a kind of unwitting autobiography of a great novelist, and as a writer’s workbook that details the moods of artistic adventure.In the diaries Robert Musil challenged himself to think about a reality beyond the world that could be apprehended by logic, to entertain the possibilities of forbidden eroticism, to imagine the hidden mystical life of Fascist Europe, and to turn the question of sexual gender into the puzzle of identity.</Div>

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before, during, and after her infidelity, making of them the extraordinary internal narrative of the short story "The Perfecting of Love" in which the woman protagonist feels her love for the distant partner reach its climax in the very act of adulterous betrayal. Musil's later affair with the Italian peasant woman is, at one level, a squaring of the marital account, at another, an exploration of feelings that parallel those in the earlier story (to judge by the narrative of "Grigia," in which

novel The Man without Qualities. . . . close to three hundred citations." If he mocks the misuse of the word "soul" it is because it has become a trivialized cliché in the mouths of most writers. He seeks the final consolation of religion, union with the Unknown or entry into the "Other World." His intuition that it is to be sought through the erotic is one that the reader can find in The Zohar, that document of thirteenth-century Neoplatonic Jewish Kaballah, and perhaps in Dante Commedia. The

these doctors -- these damned three months of absolute rest! As if any human being could stand that! And now of all times, just when he'd dynamited the gate to his authentic life. ". . . . Now listen to me. I'm 24 years of age and for the last eighteen months have been plaguing myself with something that is of complete indifference to me. An invention. 1 At the age of 21 I was already a qualified engineer. 2 I wanted to give it up and study philosophy. To do so one has to have complete financial

craft of novel writing, particularly on the technique of creating a narrative mood. At some point during the period when the notebook was being written, Musil met Martha for the first time. Perhaps the entry entitled "Calendar of love" records his feelings as this new relationship, takes possession of him?] 1905 11 Today I'm beginning a diary; I do not usually keep one but I feel a distinct need to do so now. After four years of diffusion it will give me the opportunity to find that line

reaching into a bush, when leaves and little worms stick to one's hand. Two weeks before that evening when he had told his housekeeper to prepare him a bath, 6 his old one had died; the sexton had brought . . . for him to examine. He had read it and an unpleasant idea had crept into his head whose afterpains he was still not rid of today. It wasn't really an idea at all; it was rather the feeling one has when, in spring, one rolls aside a great stone and looks at the yellowed rectal life beneath

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