Sexuality and the Sense of Self in the Works of Georg Trakl and Robert Musil

Andrew Webber
14 January 1991
206 pp
Paperback: 978-0-947623-33-3

This book undertakes a comparative reassessment of psychosexual concerns in the works of Georg Trakl and Robert Musil. The two authors, so different in other respects, are shown to converge in their coordinated treatment of the problematics of sense and sensuality. In either case a narcissistic ideal of androgynous union with the sister as 'Doppelgänger im anderen Geschlecht' is set up, only to be revoked by the compulsive return to incestuous violence and inner division. By disrupting the quest for poetic and discursive sense, sexual antagonism operates at once as the prime mover in the more general crisis of selfhood as the prime stumbling-block for the pursuit of aesthetic ends in either oeuvre.