Monday, June 02, 2008

Musil in New York Times Book Review

The latest NYT book review has an article on The Man Without Qualities, or rather about how big it is. Pretty ironic, as the book (among other things) makes fun of exactly the same kind of writing and the same attitude of glib, self-serving, self-deprecating irony towards works of art. Obviously there were many newspapers in Musil's Vienna which had similar "Arts and Leisure" section as The New York Times of our time.


praymont said...

The last paragraph of that NY Times article was especially telling. The phrasing suggests that there's something illegitimate about spending time on a great literary work -- it's merely an excuse for "indolence" -- and that it's more virtuous to devote one's time to such observable activities as restringing guitars, discarding clothes and acquiring or learning how to use consumer electronics.

Outward action is good since it demonstrates a good work ethic; inner work (thinking) is idleness and sloth.

These profoundly screwed up values seem to be just about everywhere ascendant in North America.

Amateur Reader said...

In fairness, Joe Queenan is basically a humor writer. This fairness would be even more fair if the NYT peice were actually funny.