Chance Encounter Blog

robert musil & andre gide weigh in

reading robert musil's 'the man without qualities' now - seems an appropriate response to my intense little visit to austria. here's an amazing comparison - the first is musil (writing in between the wars in austria), the second andre gide in his novel 'the counterfeiters,' written in 1926:

"...zoology teaches that a number of flawed individuals can often add up to a brilliant social unit." - musil

"As for me, I maintain that if there’s anything more contemptible and more abject than a man, it’s a lot of men. No reasoning will ever persuade me that the addition of a number of sordid units can result in an enchanting total." - gide

two observations on public mankind.