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 ending than 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 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. 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Published In Two Elegant Volumes Is The First To Present Musil S Complete Text, Including Material That Remained Unpublished During His Lifetime A comic novel A modern novel A novel of ideas and This is without a doubt my favorite novel and one that both encapsulates and foreshadows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, 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 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 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. 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 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 with developed 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.. Nessuna altra opera letteraria finora letta e dubito che nessuna altra mai ha avuto in me un effetto cos travolgente come l uomo senza qualit Come ho gi detto ad alcuni amici, leggere Musil stata una palestra per i miei neuroni acciaccati E quando vai in palestra per la prima volta dopo anni di inattivit , ne esci per giorni con le ossa rotte, torni a casa indolenzita, hai voglia a fare massaggi e spalmare creme lenitive Cos stato l approccio con Musil difficile, difficilissimo Mi sono trovata davanti ad una congerie di aforismi, monologhi, saggi dialogati, digressioni filosofiche, riflessioni dei personaggi, considerazioni dell autore che formano saggi a s stanti, di una lucidit e genialit dirompenti, con guizzi di intelligenza acutissima, di ironia pungente e momenti di poesia, di dolcezza e grazia incantevoli Ero frastornata.All improvviso qualcosa scattato e dinnanzi a me si aperto un mondo vivissimo, fatto di una molteplicit di personaggi che, grazie al perfetto disordine, alla lucida precisione del pensiero, alla scrittura impeccabile di Musil sono diventati vivi, carnalmente presenti davanti ai miei occhi, nei loro pregi e difetti, mi sono vista costruito, come una ragnatela tessuta da un abilissimo tessitore, un mondo, quello della buona societ austroungarica dell inizio del secolo XX, colta sull orlo della sua inesorabile fine In questo mondo ho assistito alle innumerevoli vicende che sempre sembrano condurre da qualche parte e da alcuna parte alla fine portano, a partire dall Azione Parallela, organizzazione creata per festeggiare il regno dell imperatore Francesco Giuseppe i cui membri sono in continuo impegnati a trovare un Idea che non troveranno da porre a base dell Azione, passando attraverso amori, tradimenti, passioni, fino alle scene piene di grazia tra i due fratelli siamesi Ulrich e Agathe, ad altre scene stupende per forza espressiva come la visita del generale Stumm alla biblioteca nazionale e la visita di Clarisse al manicomio criminale.Nel mondo decadente e inconsistente creato da Musil non vi un senso o un ordine, perch dice il generale Stumm prova a immaginarti soltanto un ordine completo, universale, un ordine di tutta l umanit , in una parola un ordine civile perfetto ebbene, io sostengo che questa la morte di freddo, la rigidit cadaverica, un paesaggio lunare, una epidemia geometrica Non vi una legge morale, perch la morale fantasia per la fantasia non arbitrio Vi l uomo immerso nelle proprie contraddizioni, e per viverci in mezzo deve avere coraggio da vendere, perch solo cos si raggiunge il massimo rendimento.Ed ora mi sento orfana di Ulrich, di Agathe, del generale Stumm, di Diotima, anche dell odioso Arnheim Per vi assicuro che i miei neuroni vanno a mille. It s all decadence A bottomless pit of intelligenceFirst and foremost, I d like to make it clear that my rating is a 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,and often than not, I found myself sympathizing with Cameron s bewilderment and despair over that Seurat painting in Ferris Bueller s Day Off IL SENSO DELLA POSSIBILIT La mia natura simile a una macchina per svalutare continuamente la vita.Musil, con questo suo mastodontico libro in particolare, considerato il suo capolavoro considerato un capolavoro tout court da qualcuno, tra cui il presente digitante , ha un primo fantastico anticipatore, Gustave Flaubert da Rouen, con quell altro capolavoro uno dei suoi pubblicato postumo cinquant anni prima di questo, Bouvard et P cuchet Egon SchieleMa questa meraviglia di Musil non pu essere appiattita solo al suo carattere di canto della stupidit umana c tanto altro, c ben altro.Non foss altro quella forma di erotismo che io percepivo leggendolo e chiss cosa ingerivo propedeutico alla lettura , tra fratello e sorella gemelli, entrambi belli e intelligenti, quell unione mistica, incestuosa ma casta, consumata solo sotto forma di amplesso dell anima , che io come dicevo trovavo oltremodo erotica Non fosse altro per quel loro essere diversi, contro, fuori dal mainstream, che negli anni in cui l ho letto era concetto e fatto messo al bando come lo anche ora solo che ora non pi un aspirazione, adesso massa bello.La follia pazzia di Moosbrugger, l enorme falegname reo di pi omicidi che Ulrich si ostina a salvare, proprio lui, uomo senza qualit Nietzsche sovrasta attento.La coppia di amici, Walter e Clarissa, il disfacimento del loro matrimonio, lo scivolare di lei in una sorta di malattia mentale Freud supervisiona curioso.L Azione Parallela, il comitato incaricato di organizzare i festeggiamenti per il giubileo del re imperatore, il kaiser Francesco Giuseppe, di cui Ulrich diventa segretario suo malgrado Festeggiamenti che si sarebbero dovuti svolgere nel 1918, il comitato si forma nel 1913 per individuare un idea memorabile che renda la celebrazione unica e indimenticabile in mezzo scorre la Grande Guerra che tutto spazza via.La Cacania, ma meglio Kakania, imperiale e regia, doppia k, kaiserlich e k niglich.Il superiore Regno Millenario dei fratelli siamesi e delle anime gemelle Egon SchieleNon esistono stellette sufficienti per questo libro Capolavoro Grande tra i grandi L ho letto e ripreso in mano pi volte, leggendo qui e l , come un libro da consultazione Sentendomi Ulrich, sentendomi Agathe.E mi chiedo se senza le dritte dell Alberto da Voghera sarei riuscito a incontrare Musil cos presto nel mio percorso di lettore inconsapevole e con cos tanto entusiasmo da parte mia.Egon Schiele.Mia personale convinzione che se questo mondo fosse popolato da pi uomini senza qualit come Ulrich, o donne senza qualit come Agathe, sarebbe un luogo ben migliore Viva questa mancanza di qualit E accadeva sempre cos , Diotima iniziava il discorso come se Dio, al settimo giorno, avesse riposto quella parola che l uomo nella conchiglia del mondo e lui allora le ricordava che l essere umano un mucchio di puntini sullo strato pi superficiale di un piccolissimo globo.Cartolina postale del 1915 che raffigura l Imperatore Francesco Giuseppe I in preghiera per la vittoria dell Austria nella Prima Guerra Mondiale. 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.