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Robert Musil's 'The Man Without Qualities'(English, Paperback, Payne Philip)


Robert Musil
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The Man without Qualities is perhaps the most important novel in German written in the twentieth century - certainly it is among the most brilliant, puzzling and profound. This, the first comprehensive study of the work to appear in English, guides the reader towards Musil's central concerns. It examines how Musil laboured through draft after draft to produce material that would pass his own strict literary 'quality control' and traces major themes through different layers of narrative with the aid of close textual analysis. It details how Musil subjects leading figures of fin-de-siecle Vienna to intense ironic scrutiny and how, by drawing on his extensive knowledge of philosophy, psychology, politics, sociology and science, he works into his novel essayistic statements which record the state of contemporary European civilisation. Through a disturbing and deeply serious liaison with his sister, Musil's hero Ulrich, is shown to struggle through to the brink of self-discovery and enlightenment.

Price:   1,879.00


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As the utopian projection of a world in which the conditional mood is preferred to the indicative, Robert Musil's ambitious novel The Man Without Qualities is widely recognized as a great example of aesthetic modernism anda profound reflection on the "postmodern condition." Based on the new and more inclusive English translation by Sophie Wilkins and Burton Pike, this study provides the English-speaking reader with a well-researched commentary thatsituates Musil's novel in the cultural, literary, and scientific context of the early 20th century. Revealing the novel's many philosophical underpinnings, the study analyzes of theoretical reflection and aesthetic imagination essential to Musil's programmatic move beyond realism. Thomas Sebastian explores Musil's background in experimental psychology, which he studied under the pioneering psychologist Carl Stumpf, and how it and other strains of scientific thought, including that of Ernst Mach, on whose philosophical ideas Musil wrote his doctoral thesis, are reflected in his great novel. Thomas Sebastian is Associate Professor of German at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

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The Critical Response to Robert Musil's The Man without Qualities(English, Hardcover, Mehigan Tim)


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The Austrian writer Robert Musil ranks among the foremost novelists of the 20th century. Despite a series of lesser but well-regarded shorter works, his literary reputation rests almost entirely on his novel Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften (The Man without Qualities), a life-work in the truest sense, which became the focus of all his energies and thinking from 1924 until his death in 1942. This study analyzes the principal trends in scholarship on the novel from the 1960s to the present. It contrasts earlier criticism, which foregrounded the eponymous central character's search for identity against the background of subject theory or mysticism, with more recent criticism, whichhas focused on aesthetic and ethical approaches to the novel within the broader context of theories of value. A focal chapter in the study centers on the persistent difficulty critics have encountered with the idea of "Eigenschaftslosigkeit," the state of being without qualities named in the novel's title. Tim Mehigan is Associate Professor of German and Head of the Department of Germanic Studies and Russian at the University of Melbourne.

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The World as Metaphor in Robert Musil's The Man without Qualities(English, Hardcover, Grill Genese Professor)


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Robert Musil, known to be a scientific and philosophical thinker, was committed to aesthetics as a process of experimental creation of an ever-shifting reality. Musil wanted, above all, to be a creative writer, and obsessively engaged in almost endless deferral via variations and metaphoric possibilities in his novel project, The Man without Qualities. This lifelong process of writing is embodied in the unfinished novel by a recurring metaphor of self-generating de-centered circle worlds. The present study analyzes this structure with reference to Musil's concepts of the utopia of the Other Condition, Living and Dead Words, Specific and Non-Specific Emotions, Word Magic, andthe Still Life. In contrast to most recent studies of Musil, it concludes that the extratemporal metaphoric experience of the Other Condition does not fail, but rather constitutes the formal and ethical core of Musil's novel. Thefirst study to utilize the newly published Klagenfurt Edition of Musil's literary remains (a searchable annotated text), as Metaphor offers a close reading of variations and text genesis, shedding light not onlyon Musil's novel, but also on larger questions about the modernist artist's role and responsibility in consciously re-creating . Genese Grill holds a PhD in Germanic Literatures and Languages from the GraduateSchool and University Center of the City University of New York.

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