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A Companion to the Works of Robert Musil


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A panel of authors, critics, and academics convened by the Literaturhaus in Munich in 1999 voted Robert Musil's The Man without Qualities the most important German novel of the 20th century. Their collective judgment rests on strong foundations: on the work's encyclopedic compass, embracing intellectual, social, political, and cultural concerns embodied in themes of striking originality; on its probing of key issues of Austrian and German life from the first four decades of the twentieth century; on the brilliance of its language, unsurpassed by any other 20th-century author writing in German. While this Companion gives The Man without Qualities the central focus it deserves, it also contributes to a deeper understanding of Musil's other significant works; in harnessing a team of established scholars from North America and Europe to the task of providing an assessment of Musil's work, it sets new standards in scope and originality. The analyses are embedded in an appreciation of the intellectual contexts of Musil's writing, yielding fresh insights into Musil's artistic accomplishment and into his place in the Austrian and German cultural traditions of the 20th century.

Contributors: Philip Payne, Klaus Amann, Galin Tihanov, Matthias Luserke-Jaqui, Silvia Bonacchi, Christian Rogowski, Peter Henninger, Walter Fanta, Karl Corino, Genese Grill, Burton Pike, Rüdiger Görner

Philip Payne is Professor of German Studies at Lancaster University, UK; Graham Bartram is Senior Lecturer in German Studies at Lancaster University, UK; and Galin Tihanov is Professor of Comparative Literature and Intellectual History and Co-Director of the Research Institute for Cosmopolitan Cultures at the University of Manchester, UK.


Taking advantage of new resources from the author's literary estate, this excellent book presents well-researched, contemporary interpretations.... This is the first reliable, balanced evaluation of his complete oeuvre. CHOICE


First Published: 23 Oct 2007
13 Digit ISBN: 9781571131102
Pages: 470
Size: 9 x 6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Camden House
BIC Class: DSB

Details updated on 29 Apr 2016


  • 1  Introduction: The Symbiosis of Robert Musil's Life and Works
  • 2  Robert Musil: Literature and Politics
  • 3  Robert Musil's Diaries: Medium between Life and Literature
  • 4  Robert Musil in the Garden of Conservatism
  • 5  Die Verwirrungen des Zöglings Törle: Adolescent Sexuality, the Authoritarian Mindset, and the Limits of Language
  • 6  Musil's "Die Vollendung der Liebe": Experience Analyzed and Reconstituted
  • 7  "Shifts in Emphasis": Robert Musil's Die Schwärmer and Twentieth-Century Drama
  • 8  Robert Musil's Novellas in the Collection Drei Frauen
  • 9  The Genesis of Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften
  • 10  The Contribution of Biographical Research to the Understanding of Characters and Themes of Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften
  • 11  Figuring Thought in Culture: "Utopia" in Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften from the Perspective of Kulturwissenschaft
  • 12  The "Other" Musil: Robert Musil and Mysticism
  • 13  Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften: Unfinished or without End?
  • 14  The "Finale" of Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften: Competing Editions and the "Telos" of the Narrative
  • 15  "Reception without Qualities": Musil's Impact on Austrian and German Writers after 1945
  • 16  Select Bibliography
  • 17  Robert Musil's Life: A Chronology
  • 18  Notes on the Contributors
  • 19  Index

The Intersection of Science and Literature in Musil's <I>The Man Without Qualities</I>

The Intersection of Science and Literature in Musil's The Man Without Qualities