Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

about correspondence



"There's something the matter with people. It seems they're unable to take in their experiences or else to wholly enter into them, so they have to pass along what's left. An excessive need to write, it seems to me, comes from the same thing. You may not be able to spot this in the written product, which tends to turn into something far removed from its origin, depending on talent and experience, but it shows up quite unambiguously in the reading of it; hardly anyone reads anymore today; everyone just uses the writer to work off his own excess on him, in some perverse fashion, whether by agreeing or disagreeing."
-- Robert Musil, The Man without Qualities, §91 (trans Sophie Wilkins)


Blogger Quin Finnegan said...

There's a passage in Kundera's 'Book of Laughter and Forgetting' somewhat along these lines, where he actually gives it a quasi-medical diagnosis: 'Graphomania'. He refers to Musil more directly in one of his own essays on the novel (Art of the Novel, I think), though without quoting this particular passage.

Wonderful blog, by the way.

26/10/05 14:33  
Blogger nnyhav said...

I'll have to return to Kundera some time (had read the novels, not Art thereof -- but the sardonic humor struck me as more indebted to Kafka); returning to The Man without Qualities V I was prompted by desire to read V II, which disappoints (but the reread was well worth it). Musil's essays in Precision & Soul (UofChicago) and the nuggets in Posthumous Papers of a Living Author (Penguin) might be of interest to you; these and some more recent Eastern European exploration (Kiŝ, Hrabal) finally prodded me back into TMw/oQ.

26/10/05 22:08  

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