Robert Musil and the Question of Science
Title Details

180 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture

Imprint: Camden House

Robert Musil and the Question of Science

Ethics, Aesthetics, and the Problem of the Two Cultures

by Tim Mehigan

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  • Contents
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A major new study of Robert Musil by one of the world's leading Musil scholars. Musil's extraordinary works, the study reveals, emerged from the problem of the "two cultures."
The modern era is marked by the separate life of two cultures of understanding, one derived from art and its discourses, the other from science and its practices. This "problem of the two cultures" (as coined by C.P. Snow) describes the difficulty of bringing these distinct ways of understanding the world together.
The works of the Austrian author Robert Musil (1930-33) represent the most distinguished treatment of this problem in the modern era. Nevertheless, doubts persist about Musil's true intentions. Did he maintain that the separation between art and science could be resolved? Or did he rise above the problem by advocating a new order of being or "other condition" that would dispense with it altogether? Mehigan's study moves these questions to center stage. He lends new clarity to the debate about Musil's position in regard to the two cultures by shining a light on ethical questions the author ultimately wished to clarify. It is the shape of a hard-won ethics, Mehigan argues, that provides the key to an effective response to the problem of the two cultures - an ethics, in the end, that can only be put forward as a new kind of art.

Tim Mehigan is Professor of German and Deputy Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland, Australia.
Preface
Introduction: Musil's Intellectual Position
The Question of Science
Musil, Ernst Mach, and the Problem of Causality
Musil's Theory of Vision
The Essays
Modernity's Crisis
Musil's Concept of Value
Unions-"An episode of more than merely personal significance"
The Problem of Trust in The Man Without Qualities
Musil's Correspondence Project: The Man Without Qualities and The Blackbird
Conclusion: "A General Secretariat of Precision and Soul": Ethics, Knowledge, and Literature after the Fourth Revolution
"This superb study anchors and clarifies Musil's struggle with precision and soul in a destabilized, rapidly changing world. An extraordinary piece of work. - Burton Pike, Professor Emeritus of German and Comparative Literature, CUNY Graduate Center, editor and (with Sophie Wilkins) co-translator of The Man without Qualities (1996)" .
"Musil scholarship is a crowded field, but Robert Musil and the Question of Science makes an exciting new contribution to understanding both The Man without Qualities and many of Musil's other texts, especially Unions and The Blackbird, not just as responses to science and rationalism, but as aesthetic attempts to pick up where science leaves off in the project of understanding what humans do and how and why they do it. -" Geoffrey C. Howes, Professor Emeritus of German, Bowling Green State University, and translator of Musil's Three Women

Hardcover

9781640140660

April 2020

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9781787446755

April 2020

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Title Details

180 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture

Imprint: Camden House