The Confusions of Young Törless by Robert Musil

By Robert Musil

At a bleak, remoted army tuition at the fringes of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, 4 younger cadets - Torless, Beineberg, Reiting and their sufferer Basini - float even additional clear of their school-fellows right into a deepest global of formality, secrecy and torture. This name is first released in 1906.

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Nothing of it was assimilated into his personality, nor did it originate within his personality. All that happened was that under some external pressure he underwent emotions that transcended the indifference of ordinary life, just as an actor needs the compulsion that a role imposes on him. These were cerebral reactions. But what is felt to be character or soul, a person's inner contour or aura, that is to say, the thing in contrast with which the thoughts, decisions, and actions appear random, lacking in characteristic quality, and easily exchangeable for others-the thing that had, for instance, bound Törless to the prince in a manner beyond the reach of any intellectual judgment-this ultimate, immovable background seemed to be utterly lost to Törless at this period.

No,” Törless said, looking out into the garden again. Behind his back-as though from a long way off-he heard the buzzing of the gas-lights. He was preoccupied by an emotion rising up in him, mournfully and like a mist. “It doesn't get you anywhere. You're right about that. But it doesn't do to tell yourself that. How much of all the things we spend our whole time in school doing is really going to get anyone anywhere? What do we get anything out of? I mean for ourselves-you see what I mean? In the evening you know you've lived another day, you've learnt this and that, you've kept up with the time-table, hut still, you're empty-inwardly, I mean.

He was waiting for something, just as, when he stood in front of those paintings, he had always been waiting for something that never happened. What was it . . It must be something surprising, something never beheld before, some monstrous sight of which he could not form the lightest notion; something of a terrifying, beast-like sensuality; something that would seize him in its claws and rend him, starting with his eyes; an experience that in some still utterly obscure way seemed to be associated with these women's soiled petticoats, with their roughened hands, with the low ceilings of their little rooms, with .

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