Man without Qualities, Vol. 1

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Overview

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 70th 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in two elegant volumes--is the first to present Musil's complete text, including material that remained unpublished during his lifetime.

A major literary event--the long-awaited, new, and first-ever...

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Man without Qualities, Vol. 1

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Overview

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 70th 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in two elegant volumes--is the first to present Musil's complete text, including material that remained unpublished during his lifetime.

A major literary event--the long-awaited, new, and first-ever complete translation of the greatest masterpiece of 20th-century German literature. Dazzingly written, ferocious, and ironically intelligent, the novel is set on the eve of World War I, in Vienna, and chronicles the decay and collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and --with utter prescience--the birth of our Age of Anxiety.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This edition of Musil's classic modernist novel features the complete text in a new translation, as well as extensive supplementary material. (Dec.)
Library Journal
After nearly completing his training as an officer candidate in the Austro-Hungarian Empire's best military academies, Musil completed a degree in civil engineering at Brno and then moved to the University of Berlin, where he studied philosophy and experimental psychology. He spent most of his adult life in Vienna until emigrating to Switzerland in 1938 in flight from the Nazis. There he worked on this massive unfinished novel, which he began in the early 1920s, until he died in 1942. Set on the verge of World War I, the novel revolves around the efforts of Ulrich, the man without qualities, to find meaning in a society in which convention stifles a new era struggling to be born. Experimental in form, the novel virtually eschews plot, relying instead on character studies and essayistic passages. This new translation offers the most complete version yet to appear in English, incorporating all the material published during Musil's life (the first two books and part of the third); the end of the third book, edited by Martha Musil in 1943; and other materials from Musil's posthumous papers relating to the novel. This tighter, more naturally flowing translation is a significant improvement over the first, clearly reproducing Musil's brilliant wit atop the solid foundation of his breathtaking political, social, and psychological insight. Recommended for all literary collections.-Michael T. O'Pecko, Towson State Univ., Md.
Anthony Powell
It is the work of a writer of great distinction and the most interesting novel I have read for a long time. The name of Proust inevitably occurs to the mind as a parallel. -- Punch
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679767879
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/28/1996
  • Series: Vintage International
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 752
  • Sales rank: 183,921
  • Product dimensions: 5.17 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Musil, born in Klagenfurt, Austria, in 1880, was the most important novelist writing in Germany in the first half of this century. At the age of twenty-six, after the success of his first novel, he abandoned an academic career in philosophy to devote himself entirely to writing. His voluntary exile in Switzerland after the Anschluss resulted in the banning of his works in Germany. The Man Without Qualities to which he devoted the last twenty years of his life remained uncompleted at the time of his sudden death in Switzerland in 1942.
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