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The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil

The Man Without Qualities

by Robert Musil

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 59 mentions

English (7)  Dutch (3)  Italian (2)  German (2)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (1)  All (18)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
A strange book, of over one-thousand pages but intriguing. What is life? What is reality? All juxtaposed in the waning days of the dysfunctional Austria-Hungary Empire. Warning: This book is unfinished! Don't expect things to be nicely wrapped up - just like life. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
I was very disappointed that, after having followed the story line for so long, and getting the feeling of finally getting somewhere, the book ended. I thought it was an interesting experience to read this book and follow the lenghty reasonings in the book. Robert Musil has a very precise and well-thought way of telling the story, but this makes the story occasionally very difficult to read. And in the end, he unfortunately never got the chance to finish the story. ( )
  JKoetsier | Jul 13, 2010 |
again and again ( )
  experimentalis | Jan 2, 2008 |
The man who allows himself to be shaped by events-- ( )
  Stronghart | Sep 17, 2007 |
A comic novel. A modern novel. A novel of ideas and more. This is without a doubt my favorite novel and one that both encapsulates and foreshadows the the development of the modern condition. Musil's scientific mind is able to present a humanistic view of the world of Ulrich and the rest of the characters that inhabit this novel. Continuously inventive and invigorating for the reader.
On rereading Musil I have come to a appreciation of why he may have found it so difficult to complete the project, for his protagonist, Ulrich - the man without qualities - was so definitely a man who considered the unlimited number of possibilities before acting. As Musil said, "What is seemingly solid in this system becomes a porous pretext for many possible meanings; . . . and man as the quintessence of his possibilities, potential man,"(p. 270); the task before him must have seemed daunting. The result - he left thousands of pages of manuscript unfinished, unedited, unpublished at his death.

At the end of the first volume of The Man Without Qualities Ulrich has just learned of his father's death and is seen heading for the train station to return home to attend to his duties. This is an ending of sorts, at least for this seven hundred page prelude to the remainder of the novel. It is a prelude that includes introductions to a roster of characters who, unlike Ulrich, portray characteristics that place them definitely in 1913 Vienna where we find most of them participating in a centennial celebration referred to as the 'Parallel Campaign'. Beside this campaign we also see glimmerings of the rise of the 'new' Germany that would emerge after the Great War which remains only, an unmentioned, possibility.

Through the whole of the first volume Ulrich both meditates internally and interacts with the other characters regarding the nature of this world and its activities and, most importantly, the possibilities facing him - the 'what if' or subjunctive nature of life. This can be summarized briefly as a discussion of the difference between the precise measurement of the modern scientific view of man and the imprecision of the artistic or more spiritual view. The society presented in the novel is particular, yet universal and in that society Ulrich is the most universal individual. As the first volume of this rather uneventful story edges toward its close suddenly several events erupt to bring some of the action into focus. These lead to a moment where Musil brings Ulrich and the reader face to face to contemplate "the narrative mode of thought to which private life still clings,". This mode of thought may give one the "impression that their life has a 'course' (that) is somehow their refuge from chaos." (p. 709) Or we may believe that it is not an impression, but a reality made through our creation of our own life through our actions and influences ("Man is not a teaching animal but one that lives, acts, and influences." - Goethe). ( )
3 vote jwhenderson | Mar 26, 2007 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
In einer stark durch essayistische Exkurse und Reflexionen geprägten Prosa entfaltet Musil ein zeitgeschichtliches Panoptikum, das im Mikrokosmos des Romans den Übergang von der durch Aufklärung und Rationalität geprägten großbürgerlichen Gesellschaft zur modernen Massengesellschaft illustriert. Den Verwerfungen zwischen Individuum und Gesellschaft, welche diesen Prozess begleiten, gilt Musils Hauptinteresse.
added by bewogenlucht | editWikipedia-DE (Aug 20, 2015)
Musil's monumental novel contains more than 1,700 pages (depending on edition) in three volumes, the last of which was published by Musil's wife after his death. The novel is famous for the irony with which Musil displays Austrian society shortly before World War I. The story takes place in 1913 in Vienna, capital of Austria-Hungary which Musil refers to by the playful name Kakanien...
added by bewogenlucht | editWikipedia-EN (Aug 8, 2015)
Robert Musil hat sich mit seinem Hauptwerk eine möglichst umfassende Schilderung des menschlichen Lebens aufgebürdet, die ihr Hauptaugenmerk auf die unterschiedlichsten Gedanken seiner Zeit gerichtet hat. Im "Mann ohne Eigenschaften" finden wir den modernen Menschen in all seinen Widersprüchlichkeiten, in der längst vollzogenen Auflösung eines einheitlichen Glaubens, auf dem steinigen Pfad des Individualismus – und vor der unabwendbaren Katastrophe des Ersten und auch schon Zweiten Weltkrieges samt all seinem Grauen und seinen Gräueln (kühnere Historiker sprechen ja hier sowieso von einem zusammenhängenden Dreissigjährigen Krieg). Dass so ein Vorhaben im Ergebnis fragmentarisch bleiben musste, selbst wenn Musil 100 Jahre länger gelebt hätte, sollte auch dem am wenigsten wohlwollenden Kritiker klar sein. Was dem Leser jedoch bleibt, ist ein breit angelegter Roman voller philosophischer Tiefen, der ihm eine Welt eröffnet, in der er sich gänzlich verlieren kann, weil sie ihn in ihrer Intensität nur aufsaugen oder im Negativfall vollkommen unberührt belassen kann.

» Add other authors (66 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Musilprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cases, CesareForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frisé, AdolfEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frisé, AdolfEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hom, HansEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lesener, IngeborgTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pike, BurtonEditorial consultantsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pike, BurtonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Radersma, JoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rebhuhn, WernerCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rho, AnitaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siebenscheinová, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilkins, SophieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Credo che tutti i precetti della nostra morale siano concessioni a una società di selvaggi.
«Vi sono persone con le quali il più grande degli eroi non avrebbe il coraggio di tacere».
Accesa la luce, i volti illuminati apparvero come venuti a galla, quasi ancora bagnati di oscurità.
… ciascuno può difendere le proprie idee con la vita, ma chi induce altri a morire per le idee altrui è un assassino!
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394510526, Hardcover)

2 Volume Boxed Set

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:18 -0400)

A novel in four volumes on the dying culture of pre-World War I Vienna. The man without qualities of the title is Ulrich, a skeptical type who views with an amused eye all attempts by the rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to instill in their subjects the nationalistic fervor of neighboring Germany. The author died in 1942.… (more)

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