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The Man Without Qualities (complete) by…

The Man Without Qualities (complete)

by Robert Musil

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Man Without Qualities (Complete)

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» See also 47 mentions

English (7)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  English (1)  Portuguese (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (13)
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 The result - he left thousands of pages of manuscript unfinished, unedited, unpublished at his death.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)
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» Add other authors (66 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Musilprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394510526, Hardcover)

2 Volume Boxed Set

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:11 -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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