Robert Musil’s "Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften </I>as a Critical-Utopian Project
Postscript: Seinesgleichen Anno 2014… The Relevance of Musil’s Ideas for Today
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Seinesgleichen Anno 2014… The Relevance of Musil’s Ideas for Today
In 2010, the Antwerp-based theatre company Toneelhuis introduced the first part of an ambitious stage adaptation of Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften, directed by Guy Cassiers. While part 1 focuses on the political intrigue of the novel, parts 2 and 3 are built around Agathe and Moosbrugger and premiered in 2011-2012.1 In this theatre production, the connection between the situation described by Musil and a general sense of political crisis prevailing in many countries today is explicitly emphasized.2 In each of the countries where the production was shown (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany…), elements of the local political malaise were inserted into Musil’s narrative.3
In the brochure of the stage adaptation, the relevance for the present of Musil’s dissection of Kakania is stressed: “…Kakania is a metaphor which is still relevant today: the feeling of living in a transitional time period in which all values become vague, is something which is not unfamiliar in our times.”4 And further in the brochure, the timeliness of the themes explored in the novel is pointed out: “In the text of Musil a series of contemporary (political) themes resound: Europe, national identity, separatism, racism, right-wing extremism, communitarian problems, language struggles, the gap between people and politics, the role of economy and money combined with an inclination towards mysticism and spirituality, etc.”5
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