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Pandaemonium Germanicum

On-line version ISSN 1982-8837


ROSENFIELD, Kathrin H.. Musil·s idea of poetic mastership and responsibility or: törless as his first attempt to become a serious writer. Pandaemonium ger. [online]. 2012, vol.15, n.19, pp.17-48. ISSN 1982-8837.

Musil uses the word Dichter, poet, as a dignified title reserved for artists of great achievement (different from Schriftsteller, writer). His use of the word emphasizes the importance of the specifically poetic qualities of literature (and of the poetic sensibility of criticism,) not as an idle objection to the contemporary merging of literary works with either pure sensation and feeling, or with other forms of discourse. Focusing on Törless, as well as on Musil's notebooks and essays, this article shows how Musil understands the relationship between rational thinking and the latent ideas and thoughts that emerge within the poetic dimension (the 'other state of mind" or 'other condition.') This approach illuminates Musil's conception of "precision and soul" - the interlocking of sensitive perceptiveness and intellectual rigor - as a necessary pre-condition for valuable literature and valuable life.

Keywords : Musil; poetic mastership; Törless; essays; notebooks.

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