•  
  •  
 

Abstract

This article examines the discourse on kitsch articulated by Austrian novelists Hermann Broch (1886-1951) and Robert Musil (1880-1942) between 1930 and 1950. In particular, I focus on the ways in which the two novelists draw the distinction of value between real and pseudo art (or kitsch). As I argue, their disagreement on this matter is emblematic of dilemmas that continue to confront aesthetic evaluation today. While Broch anchors value in a metaphysical realm on the outside of aesthetic discourse, assuming a late-idealistic notion of art, Musil frames the distinction between 'good' and 'bad' art within an empirical, relativistic, and immanent understanding of aesthetic experience. In the final section I draw on Hal Foster's notion of a "critical distance" (The Return of the Real, 1996) to discuss the advantages and limitations of the evaluative paradigms suggested by the two novelists.

Creative Commons License


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Share

COinS