Robert Musil

(1880-1942 / Klagenfurt)

Biography of Robert Musil

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 that foresaw the impending disaster in Europe after the first world war.

Musil was the son of engineer Alfred Edler von Musil (1846, Temesvár – 1924) and his wife Hermine Bergauer (1853, Linz – 1924), who lived together with an unrelated "uncle" Heinrich Reiter (born 1856), the houseguest in the Musil family. The family moved to Chomutov until October 1881, and in 1891 father was appointed to the chair of Mechanical Engineering at the German Technical University in Brno, and awarded a hereditary nobility in the Austro-Hungarian Empire shortly before it collapsed. He was a second cousin of orientalist Alois Musil.

Hermine Bergauer was the daughter of a Bohemian German engineer, Franz (Xaver von) Bergauer (3 December 1805, Hořovice – 11 October 1886, Linz).

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