Music and simultaneity in Hermann Broch's "Bergroman" Der Versucher
Master of Arts
References to the various aspects of the symbolical correspondence between simultaneity and music are omnipresent in Hermann Broch's literary and theoretical endeavors. This analysis will investigate their implications in detail. The first chapter reviews the characteristics of simultaneity, the interaction of its component parts, time and space, both of which are determined by the presence of death. Death in a temporal context is perceived as threatening and produces anxiety; in a spatial frame of reference, death is a part of life. Simultaneity or totality is achieved through Gleichgewicht, a balance of rational and irrational forces. It can be activated upon a communal, cultural, individual, intellectual, or artistic level. Indeed, all phases of human existence are subject to this form of awareness. Furthermore, music perfectly corresponds to simultaneity upon a symbolical level. Broch does not elucidate the simultaneity-mjsic complex in one specific text. Rather, this pattern must be assembled like a mosaic to yield the entire equation: music is symbolical of simultaneity. The second chapter considers the "Zerfall der Werte" essays from the trilogy Die Schlafwandler. Music is to simultaneity as silence (Stummheit) is to the disintegration of values and its symbolical counterpart. A blueprint emerges depicting the results of what did happen when societal awareness es contoured according to temporal rather spatial requirements. The third and final chapter will examine the opposite states of simultaneity and anxiety which culminate in mass hysteria in Broch's "Bergroman" Der Versucher. Rather than delineating a cultural collapse as did Die Schlafwandler, this novel balances the forces of time and anxiety against those of space and simultaneity. Thus, the perfect vision of timelessness represented by the Orgelspsiel excerpt and embodied in Mutter Gisson is countered by Marius Ratti who exploits the fear and anxiety of the Kuppron villagers and their inability to create an atmosphere leading to simultaneity. As a result, atavistic rituals are pointlessly revived through an outbreak of mass hysteria.