Musil

“Between the life we live and the life we feel… there is the invisible border, like a narrow gate.”

A new translation of Musil’s powerful first novel, The Confusions of Young Törless - a disturbing account of an adolescent’s emotional and psychological development. This edition restores the original layout approved by Musil, and which gives a unique reading experience with the variations of pace that the author intended.

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La realización me atrae siempre menos que lo no realizado, y con ello no me refiero sólo al futuro, sino igualmente a lo pasado y perdido. Me parece que nuestra historia se repite cada vez que realizamos una parte de nuestras ideas: tanto gozo nos proporciona que nos olvidamos de completarla. Grandes instituciones son a menudo esbozos desaprovechados de ideas; y por lo demás, también algunas personas,

Robert Musil. El hombre sin atributos. Diálogo de Ulrich con Diotima

Foto: Heinrich Vogeler (1872-1942). Aquí a la edad de 23 años en 1895

Quasi tutti gli uomini sono dei narratori […] a loro piace la serie ordinata dei fatti perché somiglia a una necessità, e grazie all’impressione che la vita abbia un corso si sentono in qualche modo protetti in mezzo al caos.
—  Robert Musil, L’uomo senza qualità

No se olvide que toda generación intenta destruir los resultados positivos de una época precedente creyendo mejorarlos, que la juventud anémica de semejante época se envanece de su joven sangre exactamente igual que la gente nueva de todas las épocas.

Robert Musil. El hombre sin atributos 

Foto: Equipo de fútbol. ca. 1895-1910. Library of Congress

another favorite passage from Man Without Qualities

Writing and thinking, activities as natural to man as swimming is to a duckling, were something [these men] practiced as a profession, and they were, in fact, really better at it than most. But what was it all for? What they did was beautiful, it was great, it was unique, but so much uniqueness bore the collective breath of mortality and the graveyard, having no evident meaning or purpose, ancestors or progeny. Countless remembered experiences, myriads of crisscrossing vibrations of spirit, were gathered in these heads, which were stuck like carpet weaver’s needles in a carpet extending without seams or edges all around them in every direction and somewhere, at some random place, creating a pattern that seemed to repeat itself elsewhere but was actually a little different. But is this the proper use of oneself, to set such a little patch on eternity?

As I forgot to recommend something last week, here we go. The man without qualities, Robert Musils opus magnum is one of my favourite novels, mainly, because of its meticolously precise construction. When you look at his manuscript, you can see how he planned the text like an architectural structure, with different layers, generes and references pervading and penetrating each other. I can assure you that this will be the most heterogenous reading experience, you’ve ever had. 

Until his death Musil wrote 12.000 pages and 100.000 remarks complementing them - the actual novel, that you can find in a shop only contains about 2.000 pages. So to actually tell you, what this novel is about, is nearly impossible. Just like Prouts recherche, it’s about time itself, about how everything that is written is fleeting at the same time, and how making concepts about anything is therefore pointless. How paradox, that the author himself made one of the most extensive concepts in the history of literature.