The Man Without Qualities MOBI × The Man Kindle -

The Man Without Qualities MOBI × The Man Kindle -

The Man Without Qualities [BOOKS] ⚦ The Man Without Qualities ✰ Robert Musil – Centrumpowypadkowe.co.uk Set in Vienna on the eve of World War I, this great novel of ideas tells the story of Ulrich, ex soldier and scientist, seducer and skeptic, who finds himself drafted into the grandiose plans for the Set in Vienna on the eve of World War I, this great novel of ideas tells the story of Ulrich, ex soldier and scientist, seducer and skeptic, who finds himself drafted into the grandiose plans for the th jubilee of the Emperor Franz Josef This new translation published in two elegant volumes is the first to present Musil s complete text, including material that remained unpublished during his lifetime.


10 thoughts on “The Man Without Qualities

  1. Matt Matt says:

    This book is huge in every respect It is a culmination and at the same time marks a decisive point in my reading life For the books from the same league as this one, the bar is now set quite high.Musil s AshesIn this special case I think I have to say something about the author and the way the book was published The novel remained fragmentary Robert Musil died of a stroke while working on the last part in April 1942 At this time he lived with his wife in exile in Switzerland near Geneva, al This book is huge in every respect It is a culmination and at the same time marks a decisive point in my reading life For the books from the same league as this one, the bar is now set quite high.Musil s AshesIn this special case I think I have to say something about the author and the way the book was published The novel remained fragmentary Robert Musil died of a stroke while working on the last part in April 1942 At this time he lived with his wife in exile in Switzerland near Geneva, almost penniless and nearly forgotten Only 18 people attended his cremation before his wife scattered the ashes of her husband in a forest His books were banned in Germany since 1933 and also in his native country Austria after the Anschluss in 1938 Although the Musils just barely came to make ends meet and had to live on charity, he continued to write on his Magnus Opus The first volume was published in 1930 The second volume 1933 appeared only half because Musil had withdrawn a part of the manuscript, but the publisher still wanted something to sell The third volume appeared posthumously in 1943, initially in a rushed version compiled by Martha Musil, which was later November 1952 revised and updated by Musil admirer and archivist Adolf Fris That s the one I read All this was possible because Robert Musil had produced an extraordinary bundle of 12,000 sheets with 100,000 notes, chapter drafts, and cross references Approximately 75 of the total of 270 chapters at the end of the novel are thus marked as draft , early draft or study These chapters still carry a copyright, the rest about 70% of the novel don t, and are therefore to buy in many different versions, at least as an e book, for small money I have started with a cheap Kindle version, but then quickly switched to a hardcover 5th edition, 1960 , to be able to actually read everything of this fascinating work.The PlotWhat is the book about It s set mainly in Vienna in the period from summer 1913 to the July crisis in 1914 The Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I will celebrate his 70th jubilee in 1918 For this occasion, the so called Parallel Action is started Representatives of all social groups are expected to contribute ideas on how this festive event can be celebrated Among this group is Ulrich, the titular man without qualities, who, after military service and studies in the fields of engineering, mathematics, philosophy and psychology, want to take a year long vacation from life, doing basically nothing Ulrich makes a large impression on the group with his profound and philosophical thoughts One sentence about him sums up his character at least as far as the first part of the novel goes Alles, was Ulrich im Lauf der Zeit Essayismus und M glichkeitssinn und phantastische, im Gegensatz zur pedantischen Genauigkeit genannt hatte, die Forderungen, da man Geschichte erfinden m te, da man Ideen , statt Weltgeschichte leben sollte, da man sich dessen, was sich nie ganz verwirklichen l t, zu bem chtigen und am Ende vielleicht so zu leben h tte, als w re man kein Mensch, sondern blo eine Gestalt in einem Buch, von der alles Unwesentliche fortgelassen ist, damit sich das brige magisch zusammenschlie e, alle diese, in ihrer ungew hnlichen Zuspitzung wirklichkeitsfeindlichen Fassungen, die seine Gedanken angenommen hatten, besa en das Gemeinsame, da sie auf die Wirklichkeit mit einer unverkennbaren schonungslosen Leidenschaft einwirken wollten Everything that Ulrich had called over time essayism and the sense of possibility, as opposed to the pedantic accuracy, the demands that you should have to invent history, that you should live ideas rather than world history, that you should seize which can never be quite realized, and perhaps to live at the end not like a human, but merely like a character from a book, omitted from all non essential to ensure that the rest magically comes together, all these, in their unusual worsening reality hostile versions that had adopted his thoughts, had this in common, that they wanted to act on reality with an unmistakable relentless passion translated by me Ulrich s settings will change later on, after he s reunited with his long lost sister Agathe.Style and Meta StyleMusil s view on the early 20th century is always precise, his diction stringent, literary, and often satirical ironic The prose is dense in many places, which has repeatedly forced me to take brakes from reading to process the material There is no coherent plot actually The narrative is repeatedly interrupted and gives the impression of volatility, especially in the second part The style is essayistic and is also called a novel of ideas Musil drives these things to extremes deliberately The search for ideas he lets the protagonists make themselves Essayism is Ulrich s preferred form of expression, and he even says so himself The volatility reflects the state of the society and is found as a theme in the plot I find this approach pretty awesome, although I have to admit that readers can also be put off by it.More themes,peopleThere are so many themes in this book that it s impossible to name them all and hard to pick the right ones Maybe it s enough if I just list the most serious terms here Any of these topics is treatedor less in detail, whether by the characters, or in the above mentioned essay like fashion Truth vs PossibilityLunacy vs NormalityIngenuity Soul and SpiritScience and MysticismEmotions, Instincts, LoveLogic and MindLanguage, Words, and the lack thereof Not often, but several times, etymological considerations about the respective German words are made How to translate this, is beyond me There is an illustrious cast of additional characters around Ulrich, representing all walks of life Many of them I will remember for a long time A lunatic murderer, a count, a salon lady, a Jewish banker, a Nietzscheian philosopher, an Aryan hooligan, and manyOne of my favorite characters is General Stumm von Bordwehr, who is anything but stumm German for mute I mention him, because he is, as far as I know, the only one who reappears in another book by another autor Die Hochzeit der Einh rner The wedding of the unicorns The list of real people who appear in The Man Without Qualities, is also quite long Archimedes, Strindberg, Murillo, Clausewitz, Dalai Lama, Vel zquez, Swedenborg, Dostojewski, Drake, Franz von Assisi, Nietzsche, Flaubert, Homer, Balzac, van Helmont, Fichte, Goethe, Tolstoi, Stendal, Claudius, Maeterlinck, Michelangelo, Novalis, Bismarck, Rosegger, Platon, Raffael, Rilke, Emerson, Chamberlain, Lagerl f, Freud, Mann, van Gogh, Raleigh, Zarathustra.The Writer s workshopLike I said, the last 30% of the novel contain merely chapters with drafts and studies although what Musil calls a draft , some authors would be lucky to have as a final version I like this part of the novel for two reasons The reader can sneak a peek at the writer s workshop Some early drafts and studies unveil Musil s thought processes pretty clearly This I find most fascinating The other reason is that the actual story somehow withers Although unintentional, this reflects the state of the pre war society in a way Everything kind of falls apart, but no one actually cares too much while Europe slithers into the seminal catastrophe.In my edition there is also an addendum with additional fragments, early studies, so called sheets of ideas , unpublished forewords, afterwords, and a short CV Those are also very interesting to read and I even consider to buy Musil s complete work on CD ROM, the Klagenfurter Ausgabe , which will hopefully be published this year, and will contain everything Musil has ever written and even includes facsimiles of his hand written notes.The Magic MountainI don t remember how this book found me, and when I started it I had no idea what to expect Reading this huge book was like climbing a mountain, a magic mountain as it turned out to be There are steep sections and shallow ones, there are all kinds of things to marvel at along the way If you don t rush it, take some brakes, breathe, you ll eventually get to the top, and the view from there is terrific Comparing the book to a magic mountain is not accidental I read Thomas Mann s novel not too long ago, and I liked it very much, but I have to say it pales in comparison to Musil s work, although both books have a lot in common too Thomas Mann said about Musil in 1939 Es gibt keinen anderen lebenden deutschen Schriftsteller, dessen Nachruhm mir so gewi ist There is no other living German writer whose posthumous fame is as certain to me translated by me Unfortunately this prophesy didn t work out for Musil But it should have.________________Update 10 12 15I just learned that work on the above mentioned Klagenfurter Ausgabe has been canceled It s said to be replaced by an open access portal called Musil Online in autumn 2016.We shall see________________ This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License


  2. Jim Fonseca Jim Fonseca says:

    This book is widely regarded as a classic The author spent twenty years writing it There are three volumes of which this review is of volume one, the only one that is widely read There are a variety of characters but little plot The main character is 32 year old mathematician who is actually unemployed Like the author, Ulrich was previously a military officer and an engineer and then an unpaid professor Wiki says his indifference to life has brought him to the state of being a man witho This book is widely regarded as a classic The author spent twenty years writing it There are three volumes of which this review is of volume one, the only one that is widely read There are a variety of characters but little plot The main character is 32 year old mathematician who is actually unemployed Like the author, Ulrich was previously a military officer and an engineer and then an unpaid professor Wiki says his indifference to life has brought him to the state of being a man without qualities Ulrich s father thinks he should find some usefulness to his life, so the father uses his political influence to get his son a position on a national committee that is looking to celebrate shortly in 1918 seventy years of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph s reign What is true patriotism, true progress, the true Austria There s much talk of blending Austrian culture with Prussian intellectual discipline It s also an opportunity for the Vienna intellectual crowd to flag its superiority over Germany, for the European spirit to recognize Austria as its true home The meetings and the give and take on this large committee 20 orpeople give the author a chance to lampoon what he saw as the decay of moral values and the silliness of nationalism There are a few odd characters who provide interest in the story One is a female distant cousin of Ulrich who opens her home to host the committee meetings and, in effect, creates a salon There s a Prussian, a crazy rich Jew, who is clearly the dominant intellectual mover on the committee This character is also accompanied by a young African man whom he brings with him almost as a curiosity And then there is Moosbrugger, a murderer and rapist in the news who has been convicted and condemned for the murder of a prostitute Ulrich constantly wonders if Moosbrugger can be held responsible for his actions Ulrich brings this topic up for discussion at the most inopportune times, sometimes making people wonder about Ulrich s sanity The real value of a book like this is its philosophical insight and intellectual nuggets on essentially every page A few examples It is a fundamental characteristic of civilization that a man most profoundly mistrusts those living outside his own milieu, so that not only does the Teuton regard the Jew as an incomprehensible and inferior being , but the football player likewise so regards the man who pays the piano With science We have gained in terms of reality and lost in terms of the dream But in science it happens every few years that something up to then was held to be error suddenly revolutionizes all views or that an unobtrusive, despised idea becomes the ruler over a new realm of ideas and such occurrences are not mere upheavals but lead up into the heights like Jacob s ladder At times he felt just as though he had been born with a gift to which at present there was no function Philosophers are violent and aggressive persons who, having no army at their disposal, bring the world into subjection to themselves by locking it up into a system a man who does great things usually does not know why As Cromwell said A man never rises so high as when he does not know where he is going fame, such as is acquired by intellectual achievements, melts away with remarkable rapidity as soon as one associates with those to whom it attaches Accordingly civilization meant, for her, everything that her mind could not cope with And hence too it had for a long time meant, first and foremost, her husband A great scientist, when he was once asked how he managed to hit upon so much that was new, replied By keeping on thinking about it And indeed it may safely be said that unexpected inspirations are produced by no other means than the expectation of them He recollected Voltaire s dictum that people use words only in order to conceal their thoughts and make use of thoughts only in order to justify their acts of injustice This is not a light read, so it s something you might read over a week or longer As for a rating, It s kind of a 4 but I ll round up to 5 for its obvious intellectual meat Painting of a Vienna coffeehouse The Caf Griensteidl in Vienna, watercolor by Reinhold Voelkel, 1896 Photo by Getty nu.aeon.co imagesAustrian stamp honoring the author from previews.123rf.com images


  3. Edward Edward says:

    The Man Without Qualities is an unusual novel More a work of philosophy than fiction, the Socratic interactions of its two dozen or so characters provide the framework for Musil s philosophical investigations These conversations, deep and varied in scope, are the fat formed about the scant bones of the ineffectual Parallel Campaign The philosophical musings are usually quite abstract and esoteric, though sometimes a little understandably absorbed in the specific concerns of the time Noneth The Man Without Qualities is an unusual novel More a work of philosophy than fiction, the Socratic interactions of its two dozen or so characters provide the framework for Musil s philosophical investigations These conversations, deep and varied in scope, are the fat formed about the scant bones of the ineffectual Parallel Campaign The philosophical musings are usually quite abstract and esoteric, though sometimes a little understandably absorbed in the specific concerns of the time Nonetheless, this is a masterful work, and well worth reading.However, The Man Without Qualities is not a polished or consistent book Musil s approach to the novel is haphazard, full of diversions and distractions, and a disregard for conventional narrative structure Even the Parallel Campaign, which is at the core of the novel, is abandoned for long intervals, and is rarely developed in any significant way All this gives the impression that a completed Man Without Qualities would have to be several times longer than the already dense, 1100 pages of this unfinished version However, resolutions of plot and thought being so rare within the novel, perhaps its incompleteness is perfectly aligned to its natural state This is a complex and enigmatic novel, which defies simple analysis.Musil was consumed by this book, which he worked on at some personal cost until his death Being unfinished, there is some cohesive, unifying quality, which it lacks Nonetheless Musil absolutely deserves full credit for what he has achieved for his breadth of ambition and dedication to the ideal of producing the singular, great artistic work of which one is capable


  4. Jim Jim says:

    A comic novel A modern novel A novel of ideas andThis 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, the writing is so precise and the argument Musil makes about Ulrich and his situation so intricate that it is in A comic novel A modern novel A novel of ideas andThis 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, the writing is so precise and the argument Musil makes about Ulrich and his situation so intricate that it is intellectually and aesthetically involving even before it becomes emotionally so.On rereading Musil I have come to an 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 meaningsand 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 orspiritual 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


  5. Darran Mclaughlin Darran Mclaughlin says:

    This is the greatest demonstration of human thought I have ever encountered It demonstrates that the novel can be the best method for deciphering and analysing the human condition and the nature of existence that we have, over and above philosophy, history, politics, psychology, sociology or any other ology you care to mention His range is breathtaking, encompassing the intellect, the erotic and the spiritual, he is funny and at times sublime, and his prose is perfection If you are the kind o This is the greatest demonstration of human thought I have ever encountered It demonstrates that the novel can be the best method for deciphering and analysing the human condition and the nature of existence that we have, over and above philosophy, history, politics, psychology, sociology or any other ology you care to mention His range is breathtaking, encompassing the intellect, the erotic and the spiritual, he is funny and at times sublime, and his prose is perfection If you are the kind of person who feels an urge to take on the big beasts of the novel such as Moby Dick, Ulysses, War and Peace or Don Quixote, for god s sake read this Anyone who finishes this book will know that they have had one of the most rewarding and important experiences of their cultural life


  6. Max Max says:

    I m not one for superlatives, but this has to be the greatest novel I have ever read, hands down even including the Brother s Karamazov it is almost as if this book carried the former s concerns into the 20th century, evolving them in the process The characters, situations and philosophical discussions have a level of complexity and observational depth that I have never before encountered, and at times I almost found it hard to grasp that such a work could have been written by a single huma I m not one for superlatives, but this has to be the greatest novel I have ever read, hands down even including the Brother s Karamazov it is almost as if this book carried the former s concerns into the 20th century, evolving them in the process The characters, situations and philosophical discussions have a level of complexity and observational depth that I have never before encountered, and at times I almost found it hard to grasp that such a work could have been written by a single human consciousness The conflict between modern rationality and science and the less tangible subjective world of feeling, morality, art and spirituality is one that Musil truly understood and battled, and his attempt to forge a solution is admirable to say the least Given that I just finished it, time is needed for its effect to fully sink in I will return withdeveloped thoughts, but this was a truly life changing experience The book has lost none of its relevance at the beginning of the 21st century, we are all men without qualities.


  7. Tara Tara says:

    It s all decadence A bottomless pit of intelligenceFirst and foremost, I d like to make it clear that my rating isa reflection of my personal enjoyment of this novel than of its literary merit Musil had a brilliant mind and a startlingly innovative writing style I worship his Confusions of Young T rless Also, the philosophical, psychological, and political analyses contained in this book were nothing if not rigorous, intricate and formidably incisive That said, although I knewIt s all decadence A bottomless pit of intelligenceFirst and foremost, I d like to make it clear that my rating isa reflection of my personal enjoyment of this novel than of its literary merit Musil had a brilliant mind and a startlingly innovative writing style I worship his Confusions of Young T rless Also, the philosophical, psychological, and political analyses contained in this book were nothing if not rigorous, intricate and formidably incisive That said, although I knew going in that this would be a tremendously long novel of ideas, I seem to have overestimated my attention span for, and ability to appreciate, such a work 1,774 pages of a book that tapered off excruciatingly slowly into a loose bundle of dry, esoteric philosophical discourses just wasn t for me In fact, to be brutally honest, slogging through the latter portion of this book was one of the most interminably tedious reading experiences I ve had in a long time I wouldn t necessarily go so far as to label it pretentious intellectual bullshit, but that s mainly because I m a gutless wonder.At any rate, I suggest you make damn sure you re okay with a progressively plot less philosophical novel before you commit to it, because if it isn t really your jam, you ll frequently be seized by an overpowering urge to run toward the nearest living thing and kill it Foreverything split into hundreds of layers and became opaque and blurred,andoften than not, I found myself sympathizing with Cameron s bewilderment and despair over that Seurat painting in Ferris Bueller s Day Off


  8. Kilburn Adam Kilburn Adam says:

    This review is for the Picador edition translated by Shophie Wilkins and Burton Pike.I don t know how people found books to read before the internet and Goodreads Goodreads has been recommending me this book for a very long time Finally I ve managed to read it Anyway about the book This is posibilly the most accessible, inspiring, and influential philosophy book that I ve read It s also a novel So it has a plot and characters The book covers many concepts, themes, and ideas Some of the t This review is for the Picador edition translated by Shophie Wilkins and Burton Pike.I don t know how people found books to read before the internet and Goodreads Goodreads has been recommending me this book for a very long time Finally I ve managed to read it Anyway about the book This is posibilly the most accessible, inspiring, and influential philosophy book that I ve read It s also a novel So it has a plot and characters The book covers many concepts, themes, and ideas Some of the themes include morality, experience, truth and opinion There are many allusions to Nietzsche and Dostoevsky Which I got because I ve read many of their books But unfortunately I haven t read enough Goethe to get the allusions to him I ve only actually read Faust Part 1.The book is supposedly incomplete But without giving anything away I found the endingthan adequate Unlike the disappointing ending to other incomplete novels Like The Castle by Franz Kafka And Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol But like many people have said before It s a novel of ideas so the ending isn t really that important.I ll definitely be reading this book many times again As there is so much to absorb That one read really isn t sufficient enough.If The Man Without Qualities had a fight with In Search of Lost Time The Man Without Qualities Would kick it s ass


  9. Derek Davis Derek Davis says:

    This is a world masterpiece Musil seems to me everything that Mann isn t Totally engaged with humanity while at the same time a superb, highly nuanced commentator on his society, time and the human condition I ve also picked up the newer translation but haven t read it yet If the big, soaring, grand, worldbeater novels, this may well be the best well, Moby Dick


  10. Vit Babenco Vit Babenco says:

    Revolutionary views I m afraid I must admit that I m by no means an out and out opponent of revolutionary views Short of an actual revolution, of course Even the outright reactionaries pretend to dig the new until the new starts breaking the old order of things And The Man Without Qualities is groundbreaking in everything and in all directions It practically revolutionises an outlook at the entire existing order of things The hospital aide clothed in lily white, who, with the help of acid Revolutionary views I m afraid I must admit that I m by no means an out and out opponent of revolutionary views Short of an actual revolution, of course Even the outright reactionaries pretend to dig the new until the new starts breaking the old order of things And The Man Without Qualities is groundbreaking in everything and in all directions It practically revolutionises an outlook at the entire existing order of things The hospital aide clothed in lily white, who, with the help of acids, thins out a patient s stool in a white china dish in order to obtain a purple smear, rubbing it until the right hue rewards her attention, is already living, whether she knows it or not, in a worldopen to change than is the young lady who shudders at the sight of the same stuff in the street Relativity and uncertainty principle rule in the world so everything depends on the vantage point and attitude of observer And even the simplest thing is always seen by different people differently For the moment one begins to take anything, no matter how foolish or tasteless, seriously and puts oneself on its level, it begins to reveal a rationale of its own, the intoxicating scent of its love for itself, its innate urge to play and to please It s exactly the way of the modern pop culture it always attempts to lower any observer down to its vulgar level and to make one admire even the worst kitsch And it flourishes


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