Part satire, part visionary epic, part intellectual tour de force
Robert Musil was born in Klagenfurt, Austria, in 1880. Trained in science and philosophy, he left a career in the military to turn to writing. The publication of his novel Young Toerless in 1906 brought him international recognition and remains a classic parable on the misuse of power. After serving in the First World War, Musil lived alternately in Vienna and Berlin, with much of his time being dedicated to the slow writing of his masterwork, The Man Without Qualities. In 1938, when Hitler's rise to power threatened Musil's work with being banned in both Austria and Germany, he emigrated to Switzerland, where he and his wife lived until his death in 1942. The first complete German edition of The Man Without Qualities finally appeared in 1978.
The Man Without Qualities is one of the towering
achievements of the European novel * Observer *
I would recommend Sophie Wilkins' translation as a conscientious attempt to give to the English reader a novel which is compared to The Remembrance of Things Past and Ulysses * The Times *
Immensely rich and therapeutic, bristling with wit and a sly humour * Sunday Telegraph *
At last, at last - the fully fleshed arrival in English of the third member of the trinity in twentieth-century fiction, complementing Ulysses and The Remembrance of Things Past . . . This last-waltz novel is amazingly contemporary * Wall Street Journal *
There is scarcely a page that does not provoke new thoughts or offer new insights, not a chapter that, even read on its own, does not prove stimulating * Scotsman *