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Something about Robert Musil’s Confusions of Young Torless.

June 10, 2010 \am\30 11:30 am

It was his first novel. Boys in a boarding school taught eachother the meaning of master-slave, dom-sub, real-world relationships.

Graphic, censor-arousing scenes ensued amidst concrete translation prose. Attics, lanterns, naïve Eastern philosophy.

In math class Torless struggles with imaginary numbers, likens believing in the square root of negative-one to walking across an invisible bridge. It’s all so familiar to me, so necessary.

In the introduction Coetzee says: “[The imaginary numbers] have no referent in the real world. Adults, led by Torless’s teachers, seem to have no trouble in bringing together the domains of the real and the imaginary.”

It’s all so familiar to me. I finished the book last weekend and then read Coetzee’s Summertime and then read Toussaint’s Camera. Both triumphant works, far more enjoyable works. But nothing so familiar as the imaginary numbers.

I can’t shake the sense of floating above an invisible bridge still. i is theoretical. i-squared equals something less than zero. There are three i’s in my name. Does nothing follow?

  1. June 10, 2010 \pm\30 12:22 pm 12:22 pm


  2. June 10, 2010 \pm\30 3:05 pm 3:05 pm

    Hey Joseph Riipi, did I see you read at the Epiphany launch last night? I knew your name sounded familiar, but couldn’t place it.

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