Robert Musil


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Robert Musil (6 November 1880 – 15 April 1942) was an Austrian writer. His unfinished novel The Man Without Qualities (German: Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften) is generally considered to be one of the most important modernist novels. However, the novel has not been widely read both because of its delayed publication and intricate, lengthy plot. It is, nonetheless, a significant literary achievement ... more »

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  • ''Only in the most unusual cases is it useful to determine whether a book is good or bad; for it is just as rare for it to be one or the other. It is usually both.''
    Robert Musil (1880-1942), Austrian author. [On Criticism], untitled essay draft, presumably before 1914, Robert Musil: Precision and Soul. Essays and ...
  • ''Writing [for the novelist] is not an activity, but a condition. That is why one simply can't resume the work when one has a job and a free half-day. Reading is the conveyance of this condition.''
    Robert Musil (1880-1942), Austrian author. Diary entry, 1918-1921, vol. I, p. 470, Tagebucher, ed. Adolf Frise, trans. by Donald C. Rieche, Rowohlt (1...
  • Each person is a graveyard of his thoughts. They are most beautiful for us in the moment of their birth; later we can often sense a deep pain that they leave us indifferent where earlier they enchante...
    Robert Musil (1880-1942), Austrian author. Diary entry, date uncertain: 1899?-1905/06, vol. I, p. 51, Tagebucher, 2 vols., Ed. Adolf Frise, trans. by ...
  • ''There is in every either-or a certain naivete which may well befit the evaluator, but ill- becomes the thinker, for whom opposites dissolve in series of transitions.''
    Robert Musil (1880-1942), Austrian author. Helpless Europe. A Digressive Journey (1922), Robert Musil, Precision and Soul. Essays and Addresses, p. 12...
  • ''[There is] an abiding miscommunication between the intellect and the soul. We do not have too much intellect and too little soul, but too little intellect in matters of soul.''
    Robert Musil (1880-1942), Austrian author. Helpless Europe. A Digressive Journey (1922), Robert Musil, Precision and Soul. Essays and Addresses, ed. a...
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