Robert Musil'S 'The Man Without Qualities': A Critical Study (Cambridge Studies In German)
- Publish Date: 2009-05-07
- Binding: Paperback
- Author: Philip Payne
Robert Musil's 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.