[ PDF / Epub ] ☉ The Man Without Qualities Author Robert Musil – Manifest-money.info


The Man Without Qualities 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 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 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 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 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 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. 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 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 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 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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About the Author: Robert Musil

Austrian writer He graduated military boarding school at Eisenstadt 1892 1894 and then Hranice, in that time also known as M hrisch Wei kirchen, 1894 1897 These school experiences are reflected in his first novel The confusions of young T rless He served in army during The First World War When Austria became a part of the Third Reich in 1938, Musil left for exile in Switzerland, where he died of a stroke on April 15, 1942 Musil collapsed in the middle of his gymnastic exercises and is rumoured to have died with an expression of ironic amusement on his face He was 61 years old.