Luca Guzzardi

Robert Musil, the Real Numbers, and Mathematics

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Musil, Mathematics, Real numbers, Törless, Origins.

In a famous passage of his Die Verwirrungen des Zöglings Törless (1906) Robert Musil makes use of concepts like «wirkliche Zahl» and «wirklichen Wert», usually translated (section 1) as «real number» and «real value» respectively (in Italian: «numero reale», «valore reale»). A historical account of the use of «wirklichen Zahl» in German mathematics (section 2) shows that such interpretation is misleading: it would be a sort of a theoretic excursus about the nature of the numbers, what appears to be inconsistent with the history of mathematics on the one hand and the «moral meaning» commonly ascribed to the Törless on the other. On this basis, the role of mathematics in Musil's works and its meaning as Lebensform particularly in Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften are discussed (sections 3 and 4).

Trova nel catalogo di Worldcat

Article first page

Article first page