Saturday, March 28, 2009


Durs Grünbeins verse novel Im Schnee has several funny components. For instance, Descartes asks several times all through the novel his servant Gillot about certain rules (“Wie lautet Regel XY?”). Gillot, each time, recites the respective rule. Most of them seem somewhat odd and funny.

Maybe Grünbein wants to reference to Descartes’ Regulae ad directionem ingenii which, as I read on Wikipedia (é_Descartes) contains rules that should help finding the truth by means of intuition. This method consists basically in decomposing complex issues so as to be able to accept the single elements as true qua intuition. As it seems, these rules contradicted Descartes’ later conceptions and so, he stopped working on them. Posthumously published were only 21 of the 36 that Descartes had planned.

This might also explain the fragmentary character of the corpus of rules presented in Im Schnee. We get to know seven rules (rules 4 to 9, and rule 12). As mentioned before, they are rather weird but certainly there is something intuitive about them.

Here they are:

4: Dein Schulternzucken ist des andern Seelenqual (28)

5: Schütz Dein Gehirn (22 and elsewhere)

6: Sag niemals nie (25)

7: Von Dir wird bleiben nur, was Du einst aufgeschrieben (96)

8: Verstand ist aufgeteilt – gerecht in kleinen Dosen (92, see also the head of one of the canti)

9: Stör meine Kreise nicht (22); Fall dem Denker nicht ins Wort (17)

12: Bleib fein gallant, wart bis Du einestags zum Zuge kommst. Eine Dame fällt, überrascht Dir zu (101-102)

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