In contrast to the emphasis on sexuality found in much of the scholarship on Musil’s Törleß, this paper offers an alternative, yet complementary reading that underscores notions of class. The paper argues that the novel represents how a socially transgressive undertaking may be understood as establishing the boundaries of a subject’s identity. It focuses on two spaces—the prostitute’s room in the village and the boys’ secret loft in the school—to consider the physical spaces represented in the novel as a map on which one can trace the crisis of a fragmented subject pushed into liminality, into hidden spaces, beyond the gaze of a society facing the choice between modernity and tradition in Austria-Hungary. For Törleß, the exploration of social transgression ends with the coming of age into his class, the bourgeoisie.


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pp. 65-90
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