It is not Musils highly regarded novel The Man without Qualities, which has been the subject of much research, but his essays that form the focus of this innovative study, which defines essayism not as a textual characteristic but as a metatextual textualisation process. As media of cultural self-reflection, Musils significant essays are at the same time a cultural critique and also a poetology of literary modernity. Drawing together the history of literature and sociology, textual theory and genre poetics, the study develops new criteria for determining the essayistic. Drawing comparisons with texts by Georg Simmel, Georg Lukács, Béla Balázs, Franz Blei and Hermann Broch, it demonstrates the processes of catenation, commentary, continuation, incorporation and traversion which are fundamental to the essayistic metatext. Essayism as a category of literary critical description and analysis here defines an expandable principle of textualisation which transcends named authors, individual texts, genres and discourses.
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Georg Simmel – Wikipedia