Feb 062014

Desktop43Proust & Musil

Today, a truly fascinating essay on Marcel Proust and Robert Musil, on À la recherche du temps perdu and A Man Without Qualities, that starts with a comic anecdote about Musil’s annoyance at being compared to that “nibbling mouse” in Paris and goes on to a parallel use of a certain technique, the “extratemporal” moment, the moment outside of time. Both Musil and Proust make a special case for the mythic or transcendent quality of metaphor, both write to infinitely expand the minute. Genese Grill is that wonderful combination, a scholar and an artist; and she does that lovely thing poets can do: she enacts in her prose the subject of her essay; she juxtaposes two quite different authors and in that moment of tense suspension creates a spectacular moment of clarity and insight.



But it was also like a metaphor, where the things compared are the same yet on the other hand quite different, and from the dissimilarity of the similar as from the similarity of the dissimilar two columns of smoke drift upward with the magical scent of baked apples and pine twigs strewn on the fire (Musil MWQ 153).[1]

In a diary entry from the late thirties or early forties, Robert Musil complained that people were comparing his work to that of a contemporary French novelist, and that their comparisons were rather like equating the unshakeable will of a lion with a nibbling mouse.[2] The lion — Musil himself — admitted elsewhere to having read no more than ten pages of this mouse’s voluminous work in his life, afraid presumably of being tainted by either influence or, more probably, the rumor of association. And yet, from the farther distance of three quarters of a century, from a more thorough reading of Proust than Musil’s own ten pages, one may begin to draw some lines of association, to make a metaphor, as it were, of these two separate persons. Neither Musil nor Proust, despite their famous exactitude about language, bothers, to note a relevant though minor similarity, to distinguish between different sorts of figurative language, referring indiscriminately to metaphor, simile, synecdoche, metonymy, and anthropomorphism as simply metaphor, likeness, or association. For the purposes of this discussion then, at the risk of offending grammarians, metaphor will refer — as it did for these authors — to any process of association between objects, things, persons, experiences, events, or times.

Admitting that, as Musil’s character Ulrich both warns and wonders, metaphoric association always involves a level of inaccuracy, a process of leaving out, and a necessary optical illusion of sameness where myriad differences prevail, we may begin to force these two different authors for the space of this short paper into a slightly uncomfortable proximity, in hopes that such temporary and perhaps over-bold imprecision will be fruitful.  This process involves a reduction of a complex arrangement of details to broad strokes, generalities, universals.  “Every concept,” wrote Nietzsche, “comes into being by making equivalent that which is non-equivalent […] by forgetting those features which differentiate one thing from another”.  “Truth,” he continued, is a “mobile army of metaphors, metonymies, anthropomorphisms” (Nietzsche 877-878).

And Ulrich, explaining to Diotima that she, like an author, always “leaves out what doesn’t suit [her]” argues that “all concepts upon which we base our lives are no more than congealed metaphors,” — which doesn’t contradict his previous statement that “by leaving things out, we bring beauty and excitement into the world”(MWQ 625-626). Proust’s definition of Beauty, provided in a letter to Madame de Noailles, describes this optical illusion similarly: “It’s a kind of blending,” he writes, “ a transparent unity in which all things, having lost their initial aspect as things, have lined up beside each other in a sort of order, are instilled with the same light and are seen within each other. I suppose,” he concludes, “this is what is called the gloss of the old masters”(qtd. In Tadie 443). And, in The Remembrance of Things Past, the narrator admits the necessary reduction and abstraction which takes place in the translation of reality into fiction, confessing that he has reduced the whole environs of Combray to a few outlines, “like the decor one sees prescribed on the title page of an old play, for its performance in the provinces”. “As though,” he continues, “all of Combray had consisted of but two floors joined by a slender staircase, and as though there had been no time there but seven o’clock”(I 33) .

In this regard, every work of art — and every personal judgment about reality — as a result of selecting out and reduction or — one might even say, abstraction, is a process of metaphoric association, or, to use the terminology which Musil and Proust mostly chose to ignore, a process, more specifically of synecdoche, whereby a part only of reality is presented as a representation or symbol of the whole.  A work of art, then, is a sort of selective microcosm of places, events, persons, experiences, and details of all kinds, an attempt to symbolically contain all of time within the boundaries of its form. In a novel the size of Musil’s or Proust’s, however, we see art straining to stretch a map somewhat like the mythical one Borges describes in a short sketch–a map which was so exact that it covered over the entire territory it attempted to describe. While traditionally, novelists have selected only those elements which, as Hamlet notes, “serve to swell the progress of a scene,” Musil and Proust, in the almost willfully lethargic non-action of their characters, raise the question: how would a novel look which described all of the moments in between the action, or a map which depicted all of the places leading up to or receding from the usual focal points of a journey?

Their moments of attention are quite different than what our readerly expectations have been trained to await.  These moments, moreover, do not necessarily line up like purposeful dots to form an easily traceable path. Musil and Proust present us with an emphatically different methodology for arranging and thinking about our lives and about the possible narration of experience. This methodology rests, I submit, in the metaphorical qualities of what I will call the extratemporal moment–a recurring motif in both novels wherein two objects, places, persons, times, or experiences are temporarily associated with each other, lifting the experiencer and the reader into a realm outside of the time of the novel, and, what is more essential, to a realm which is outside of time altogether. For both Proust and Musil, the consciousness of an extratemporal reality is connected with mystical and mythical ideas about an eternal realm untainted by the scourges of time and death, and, for Musil–more specifically–of the realm he calls the millennium–a thousand years of heaven on earth–wherein an eternity is thought to be contained within a moment. “A thousand years is nothing more than the opening and closing of an eye”(MoE 1233 ); but all of Musil’s novel enacts this relationship of the moment with eternity. “For Proust,” writes Gerard Genette in a footnote, “lost time is not, as is widely but mistakenly believed, ‘past’ time, but time in its pure state, which is really to say, through the fusion of a present moment and a past moment, the contrary of passing time: the extra-temporal, eternity” (ff.7, 226). Genette continues, quoting Proust’s  Jean Santeuil: “As if our true nature were outside time, created to taste the eternal” (ff.8, 226). Another way to taste the eternal, perhaps a little easier than attaining to the millennium or falling into a mystical trance, is through the creation or experience of a work of art. Proust’s narrator’s discovery of a vocation through the sudden realization of correspondences is, of course, a manifest illustration of this theory of metaphor. The creation of a work of art, in other words, depends upon the involuntary association of two separate entities; metaphor is, for both of these authors, the means to the extratemporal, to the eternal moment.

In precisely a “moment” within The Man Without Qualities, wherein two concepts, “violence and love do not have quite their conventional meaning” it occurs to Ulrich that “life–bursting with conceit over its here-and-now but really a most uncertain, even a downright unreal condition–pours itself headlong into the few dozen cake molds of which reality consists” (MWQ 645). The fact that two concepts temporarily lose their conventional meaning here, and that they do this within a moment, is another reflection of the fruitful nature of metaphor; but,  paradoxically,  the insight which is born is that metaphor can be reductive as well as rich in possibilities. These few dozen molds which constitute one way in which people and authors metaphorically translate reality are clearly somewhat restrictive; they seem to limit rather than expand imagination and, by association, the possibilities of literature and life.  Perhaps we have to differentiate between the “congealed metaphors” which Ulrich mocked in his discussion with Diotima, metaphors which are more like clichés or tired concepts, and another fresher, more immediate species of newly minted juxtapositions.

In a particularly complex chapter wherein Ulrich confronts the imposing beauty of an old church and with it the tension between petrified forms, traditions, definitions and the creative energy of a fluid force he calls “mist,” metaphor is precisely the open sesame to seeing things differently, to creatively de- and re-constructing the fixed meanings and historical course of the world.  Ulrich sees the church as an old matron, “sitting here in the shade, with a huge belly terraced like a flight of steps, her back resting against the houses behind her.” “It was only seconds,” relates the narrator after a long digression on time, beauty, and change, “that Ulrich stood outside the church, but they rooted in him and compressed his heart with all the resistance of primal instinct against this world petrified into millions of tons of stone, against this frozen moonscape of feeling where, involuntarily, he had been set down” (MwQ 136).  A metaphor, followed by insights which “flashed on Ulrich with surprising suddenness,” is in this case a fruitful and expansive momentary experience which stops the flow of the narrative and undoes reality by merging two possible objects abducted from the world of real and solid things.

Proust’s narrator, describing Elstir’s paintings of seascapes, describes further metaphor’s ability to take from things their initial characteristics or qualities:   “The charm of each of them,” he explains, “lay in a sort of metamorphosis of the things represented in it, analogous to what in poetry we call metaphor, and that, if God the Father had created things by naming them, it was by taking away their names or giving them other names that Elstir created them anew” (I 628). More famously, in the waiting room at the Guermante’s mansion, inundated repeatedly by a series of metaphoric correspondences and sense-memories (paving stones, clanking spoons, textures of cloth) which make him believe for the first time that he can write, the narrator notes the sudden transmutation from real world to the realm of fairy tale. After wiping his mouth with a napkin that is like unto a towel from his past life, he explains that, “immediately, like the character in The Arabian Nights who unwittingly performs precisely the rite that calls up before him, visible to his eyes alone, a docile genie, ready to transport him far away, a fresh vision of azure blue passed before my  eyes…”(II 993).

The sudden perception of a correspondence between two separate entities transports both Ulrich and Proust’s narrator from their present time-bound world into the extratemporal like magic; such correspondence cannot, according to both theorists of metaphor, be bidden, it cannot be logically prepared for; but when it comes, it comes with a beatific force to temporarily blot out everything else. While there may, then, be only limited petrified realities (heavy and fixed as stone) or formal arrangements out of the pragmatic necessity of the pursuance of normal life and the continuation of some semblance of narrative, there seem to be infinite possibilities for the extratemporal legerdemain of metaphoric displacement—to effortlessly topple centuries of tradition, discombobulate time lines, or to magically translate a dreamer from a post-WWI Parisian drawing room to a hovering trans-historical magic carpet.

Metaphor–the act of making equivalent that which is not equivalent is a sort of a category mistake, a deviation.  And, more importantly for the creation and valuation of literature, metaphor, as Paul Ricouer wrote, “bears information because it ‘redescribes’ reality.  Thus,” he  continued, “ the category mistake is the de-constructive intermediary phase between the description and the redescription” (Rule 22). Metaphor, in other words, being inherent in the creation of any fictional world, involves something like a critique of the real world as prerequisite to a redescription .  By connecting Ricouer’s work on metaphor with his work on narrative and time, we may note that fictional time, in his conception, is a metaphoric redescription of cosmological and historical time which explores “the resources of phenomenological time that are left unexploited or are inhibited by historical narrative […] These hidden resources of phenomenological time,” Ricouer continues, “and the aporias which their discovery gives rise to, form the secret bond between the two modalities of narrative [fictive and historical]. Fiction,” he concludes, “is a treasure trove of imaginative variations applied to the theme of phenomenological time and its aporias”(Time 128).

While all novels thus bear a metaphoric relationship with reality, in The Man Without Qualities and Remembrance of Things Past, we are not only presented with two simple or self-contained redescriptions of the world; in addition to performing the normal metaphorical function vis à vis reality, metaphor in these works takes on a more specialized role, that of presenting further imaginative variations to the basic imaginative variation of each fictional world itself; this double undoing reflects strikingly back upon life from the realm of literature by its explicit questioning of all attempts to make order and to tell stories in a strictly linear order.  As Musil wrote in response to a criticism leveled against the relative plotlessness of his novel, “The problem: how shall I come to narration, is as much my stylistic problem as it is the life problem of the main character”.[3] Both novels, furthermore, wage their own wars on normal reality: Ulrich, when asked what he would do if he could rule the world for the day, announces, “I suppose I would have no choice but to abolish reality” (MWQ 312); Marcel, for his part, declares that art alone can reveal to us “our life, life as it really is, life disclosed and at last made clear, consequently the only life that is really lived…” (II 1013).

While metaphoric processes within these two books repeatedly stem the flow of the narratives (such as they are) and, within the already disjunctive and non-linear procession of their lengthy, never-ending and never finished scope, present momentary and extra-spatial distentions, they also serve to call attention to the extra-temporal process of metaphoric thinking which is the basis of both literature and life.  Metaphoric thinking is, thus, an alternative to what Ulrich describes as longing for “the simple sequence of events in which the overwhelmingly manifold nature of things is represented, in a unidimensional order, as a mathematician would say, stringing all that has occurred in space and time on a single thread, which calms us; that celebrated ‘thread of the story,’ which is, it seems, the thread of life itself”.  Although, he continues to muse, people love the illusion of this consequent ordering of cause and effect, and look to it “as their refuge from chaos,” he notes that, “he had lost this elementary, narrative mode of thought to which private life still clings, even though everything in public life has already ceased to be narrative and no longer follows a thread, but instead spreads out as an infinitely interwoven surface” (MwQ 709).   In a modernist novel which has lost that “elementary, narrative mode,” one can see the function of metaphor as the creation of an almost infinite number of expanding thought moments, decentralized centers, if you will, within the “infinitely interwoven surface,” which assert convincing alternatives to the comforting illusion of the “thread of the story”.  “Then there is a center,” writes Musil in a late draft, “and all around it other centers come into being” (MoE 1524, trans. mine).

Ulrich asserts repeatedly through the novel that he wants to live life like a character in a book, removing what he calls “the fatty tissue of life”; and Proust’s narrator describes a state of mind wherein a supposed real character, his lost love Albertine, is perceived as a fictional personage. He posits a world “in which Albertine counted so little […] perhaps an intellectual world, which was the sole reality,” and a world in which his grief would be, “something like what we feel when we read a novel [wherein we would] think no more about what Albertine had done than we think about the action of the imaginary heroine of a novel after we have finished reading it” (II 374-5).

In both cases we are right to pause, for Ulrich and Albertine are, in fact, already characters in books!  But —and this is the important question here — what sort of books?  Books, it should by now be clear, which by undermining material reality, may reach the more essential — the eternal — Proust’s “sole reality” or Musil’s life without the fatty tissue, books wherein the thread of the story, otherwise known as the plot, is very tenuous amid the heady atmosphere of swirling timelessness and the dense non-action of thinking, amid the constant distention of extended metaphors and recurring metaphoric moments of mystical aesthetic experience. The books in which these characters would live if they were real are, presumably, the sort of books which they do live in as fictional, books rather more like those favored by Virginia Woolf in her essay Modern Fiction, which, rather than recording plot, tragedy, love interest, or catastrophe, describe life as it really was after the turn of the century, as a subjective experience of “myriad impressions–trivial, fantastic, evanescent, or engraved with the sharpness of steel.  From all sides they come, an incessant shower of incomparable atoms; and as they fall, as they shape themselves into the life of Monday or Tuesday, the accent falls differently from of old; the moment of importance came not here but there”.  “Life,” Woolf famously continues, “is not a series of gig-lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end” (106).

That the metaphoric moment, for both Proust and Musil, constitutes a means for the arresting and dilating of time, a sort of escape from the normal reality of the novels themselves, should be examined in light of the length of these novels; the tension, in other words, between these recurring moments and the stretch of pages that persists. Judith Ryan, in her excellent book on early psychology in the modern novel, writes that “The early 20th century writers’ attempt to embed depictions of such moments into the novel, rather than reserve them for lyric poetry as the Romantics had done, was symptomatic of their view that these special states were part and parcel of reality, not something beyond it” (223).[4] The difficult question explored by this formal challenge concerns the relationship of these exceptional moments of experience with the necessary continuation of normal time and some semblance of linear narrative.

How are these moments to be valued within these novels?  How are we to understand the narrator Marcel’s statement that the pleasure which these metaphoric moments of contemplation had given him at “rare intervals” in his life, “was the only one that was fecund and real” (II 998)  or that he “would have sacrificed [his] dull life in the past, and all [his] life to come, erased with the India-rubber of habit, for one of these special, unique moments”(II 395)?  Can we begin to take seriously the challenge waged against reality by the mystics with whom Ulrich and his sister Agathe go to school, who saw that in certain states of consciousness, “the ordinary world, with its apparently so real people and things that lord it over everything like fortresses on cliffs, if one looks back at it, together with its evil and impoverished relationships, appears only as a consequence of a moral error from which we have already withdrawn our organs of sense”?[5] Or must we, still stuck in the paradigm of positivism, linearity, and the illusion of permanence which these novels explicitly aim to dissolve, deem Musil’s experiment with the “other condition” a failure because Ulrich and Agathe’s idyll in paradise does not endure any longer than an infinite moment?  Or conclude that Proust’s world of literature is merely an untenable aesthetic dream because its ultimate judgment on life favors transcendent moments experienced solipsistically and in an infinite circle?

Perhaps one last metaphor will provide us with a provisional answer (in a world of partial solutions and eternal non-closure) to at least the question of Musil’s ultimate conclusions about the viability or value of “the other condition” of these extratemporal moments. If we boldly make a metaphor of Musil’s and Proust’s novels, comparing along with all we have already discussed in all too swift passing their strikingly similar methods of continual drafting, of experimental overlapping versions, of non-closure, we may pause to wonder if Ulrich’s development, from something like what Gilles Deleuze called Proust’s narrator’s initial “apprenticeship to disillusionment”, might likewise have been towards  the discovery of vocation and the autobiographically shadowed next step of beginning to write the novel which we have just read.  In other words, as Proust’s own life is metaphorically echoed in his novel (through displacements, gender shifts, and palimpsests of a-chronology); so is Ulrich’s story very similar to his author’s, who, like his character, was an army man, an engineer, and a mathematician; and who had found, like Ulrich, a twin who was not really a twin in his wife Martha. Gene Moore in his book on Musil and Proust interprets that Musil wanted to depict in this way the “cultural suicide” of his age and, by association, the failure of his dream of “the other condition”. The culmination in war might, instead, be merely the next step in the metaphorical narration of Musil’s own experience–a next step with surprisingly positive connotations for Musil, who experienced a powerful near death experience while on the battlefield which serves as one model for the ecstasy of the other condition.

That “War,” as Musil writes in a late novel draft, “lasts a month and sex a night,”[6] is not an argument against the reality of either. Nor does Proust’s narrator’s patently absurd attempt to eternally imprison Albertine (La Prisonierre) within his rooms, to catch and hold beautiful youth, translate to a negation of the relative meaning of that which must necessarily, by its nature, be fleeting.

That neither Musil nor Proust depict the duration of these moments of exceptional experience is precisely the point; for “real essences,” in a post-Einsteinian universe, are neither solid nor consistent; real essences are in flux; they change depending upon the conditions, the atmosphere, on our relative relationship to them, depending, most of all, upon their association or temporary metaphoric relationship with other essences.

Ulrich, hundreds of pages before he even so much as thinks of his forgotten sister Agathe, says that he will either have to write a book or kill himself, and then again in later notations for the end of the novel, confesses that his three choices in life were: “Suicide, writing books, going to war” (MwQ, 1757). Perhaps — if you will humor me in my metaphor for a moment or two more, Ulrich’s answer to the impossibility of holding the moment in the real world, of maintaining a sense of conviction, desire, love, or beauty, can be glimpsed in the reflection of Proust’s novel, wherein the narrator discovers, after returning from a long convalescent exile during WWI, that all of his friends have grown so suddenly old that he believes at first that he has arrived at a masquerade party where the guests are wearing powdered wigs and face make-up.  “For I knew,” the narrator relates — pointing to the inevitability of death, “what these changes meant, what they were the prelude to”(II 1045).  The only answer, of course, could be the creation of a lasting work of art, the writing of the book which Musil would spend the rest of his post-war life writing—the book he was working on the day he died.  “Truth,” Proust writes, “will begin only when the author takes two different objects, establishes their relationship […]and encloses them in the necessary rings of a beautiful style […] makes their essential nature stand out clearly by joining them in metaphor, in order to remove them from the contingencies of time[…]”(II 1008-9).

Which must be why Proust himself, on his death bed, furiously dictated his experiences of dying to his secretary to be transposed into the still unfinished novel as the death scene of another character!  Even — or perhaps especially — in death, literature was more important than life. “Little patch of yellow wall, little patch of yellow wall,” mutters another perishing character in Proust’s novel, sucking in his very last glimpses of beauty before a Vermeer painting: “And finally,” Proust writes, “the precious substance of the tiny patch of yellow wall.  His giddiness increased; he fixed his eyes, like a child upon a yellow butterfly which it is trying to catch, upon the precious patch of a wall”(II 509) For there in this little patch of color, not, after all, in remembering the people he had loved or lost or been betrayed by, not in reviewing the fleeting heroic actions, the failures and successes of idle scenarios or delusive desires, but there, in a metaphoric transubstantiation wherein paint becomes an image of a wall becomes prose becomes the uncatchable, elusive, fluttering yellow butterfly which is mortality, there is the extratemporal moment, eternally though ephemerally trembling…not something that lasts, alas, but, on the other hand, the only thing that does.

—Genese Grill

Works Cited

Borges, Jorge Luis. “On Exactitude in Science” Collected Fictions. Trans. Andrew Hurley. New York: Penguin, 1999.

Genette, Gérard.  Figures of Literary Discourse. Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Columbia U P, 1984.

Moore, Gene E. Proust and Musil: The Novel as Research Instrument. Garland Series in Comparative Literature. New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1985.

Musil, Robert.  Briefe [Letters]1901-1942. Ed. Adolf Frisé with help from Murray G. Hall. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1981

Gesammelte Werke: Der Mann Ohne Eigenschaften. Reinbeck bei Hamburg:  Rowohlt, 1978.

Klagenfurter Ausgabe (Klagenfurt Edition; KA): Annotated Digital Edition of the Collected Works, Letters and Literary and Biographical Remains, with Transcriptions and Facsimiles of All Manuscripts. Ed. Walter Fanta, Klaus Amann, and Karl Corino. Robert Musil-Institut, Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt, Austria, 2009

Tagebücher (TB).  Reinbeck bei Hamburg:  Rowohlt, 1983.

The Man Without Qualities (MWQ).  Trans.  Burton Pike and Sophie Wilkens.  New York,   Knopf, 1995.

Nietzsche, Friedrich.  “On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense”. Trans. Ronald Speirs.  The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent P. Leitch. New York: Norton, 2001.

Proust, Marcel.  Remembrance of Things Past.  Trans.  C.K. Scott Moncrieff.  New York : Random House, 1934, 2 volumes.

Ricouer, Paul.  Time and Narrative, pt. II.  Trans.  Kathleen McLaughlin & David Pellauer. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1990.

The Rule of Metaphor: Multi-disciplinary Studies of the Creation of Meaning in Language. Trans. Robert Czerny ; with Kathleen McLaughlin and John Costello. Toronto/Buffalo : U of Toronto P, 1977.

Ryan, Judith. The Vanishing Subject: Early Psychology and Literary Modernism. Chicago:  U of Chicago P, 1991

Tadie, Jean-Yves.   Marcel Proust: A  Life. Trans. Euan Cameron. New York:  Penguin,  2001

Woolf, Virginia. ‘Modern Fiction’. Collected Essays. London: The Hogarth Press, 1966, 3 vols., II.

Genese Grill is an artist, writer, German scholar, and translator living in Burlington, Vermont. Her first book, The World as Metaphor in Robert Musil’s ‘The Man without Qualities’: Possibility as Reality (Camden House, 2012), explores the aesthetic-ethical imperative of word and world-making in Musil’s metaphoric theory and practice and celebrates the extra-temporal moment of Musil’s “Other Condition” as a transformative aesthetic and mystical experience informing a utopian conduct of life.

G photo for BBF

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Musil, Robert. The Man without Qualities (MwQ).  Trans.  Burton Pike and Sophie Wilkens.  Knopf: New York, 1995, 153; Gesammelte Werke: Der Mann Ohne Eigenschaften (GW, MoE) 145: “Aber so wie in einem Gleichnis, wo die Dinge die gleichen sind, dawider aber auch ganz verschieden sind, und aus dem Ungleichnis des Gleichen wie aus der Gleichnis des Ungleichen zwei Rauchsäelen aufsteigen, mit dem märchenhaften Geruch von Bratäpfeln und ins Feuer gestreuten Fichtenzweigen, war es auch”.
  2. Robert Musil: Tagebücher [Diaries]. Ed. Adolf Frisé. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1976, 934.
  3. From a letter probably written to Bernard Guillemin, January 26th, 1931. Robert Musil: Briefe [Letters]1901-1942. Ed. Adolf Frisé with help from Murray G. Hall. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1981, 498 (translation mine).
  4. Judith Ryan. The Vanishing Subject: Early Psychology and Literary Modernism. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1991
  5. GW 5: MoE, 1642 (translation mine).
  6. Klagenfurter Ausgabe (Klagenfurt Edition; KA): Annotated Digital Edition of the Collected Works, Letters and Literary and Biographical Remains, with Transcriptions and Facsimiles of All Manuscripts. Ed. Walter Fanta, Klaus Amann, and Karl Corino. Robert Musil-Institut, Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt, Austria, 2009, Transkriptionen und Faksimiles, Nachlass Mappen, Mappengruppe II, Mappe II/2 “NR-23-”, Notizen zur Reinschrift 23-36, 2/11/16, NR 33-3/Studie zum Problem Aufbau-3: “. Letzte Zuflucht Sex u Krieg: aber Sex dauert 1 Nacht der Krieg immerhin wahrscheinlich 1 Monat. usw.”

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