Information about the author:
Elena A. Hamidy
Elena A. Hamidy, Postgraduate, University of Giessen, Otto-Behaghel-Straße, 10 G, 35394 Gießen, Germany.
In the article the parallels between the works of M. Gorky and R. Musil are considered; in particular I concentrate on the novels The Life of Klim Samgin and The Man without Qualities. Based on the history of the comparison of these novels, three points of contact are examined: a similar diagnosis of the state of culture on the eve of 1914/17; the lack of qualities of the protagonists; a state of political weightlessness. Both novels are explored as novels of ideas or novels of the search for ideas for the Russian revolution (Gorky) and the parallel action (Musil). This innovation in both cases is directly related to the criticism of the history of F. Nietzsche in his essay On the Use and Abuse of History for Life. Failing while finding an idea for social change leads to a cultural crisis in which heroes begin to strive for simplification of life, getting rid of cultural complexity. In addition, the article touches upon the story of R. Musil’s speech at the writers’ congress in defence of culture 1935 in Paris and quotes Musil’s and his wife’s statements about M. Gorky.
Keywords: Maxim Gorky, Robert Musil, Congress of Writers in Defence of Culture, The Life of Klim Samgin, Man without Qualities, the novel of ideas, F. Nietzsche, On the Use and Abuse of History for Life, the Russian revolution, the beginning of the First World War, cultural crisis, simplification of life, political weightlessness, lack of qualities, Ulrich, Klim Samgin.