The Man Without Qualities: Vol 2
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Man Without Qualities: Vol 2

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  452 ratings  ·  29 reviews
"Musil belongs in the company of Joyce, Proust, Kafka, and Svevo. . . . (This translation) is a literay and intellectual event of singular importance."--New Republic.
Paperback, Picador Classics, 454 pages
Published 1988 by Pan Books (first published 1933)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,193)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Note: Volume II of the newer Pike/Wilkins translation and Volume II of the older Wilkins/Kaiser translation do not cover the same material. This review is for the later.

From the first time I heard it, the title, The Man Without Qualities, struck me as surreptitiously suggestive of some vital meaning that I could only find behind the cover on which it was written. And perhaps it was all of my previous reading experience that then subtly bade me to wean my expectations from this promise. For that...more
Putting it down for now at the end of the chapters published during Musil's life -- that is, before the onslaught of 600+ pages of posthumous papers. If Volume II maintained Volume I's towering literary artistry (TLA), I'd read all the drafts and notes etc, but I need a break from so much talk and talk and talk and talk about morality and willpower and the soul and action and the science of thought and feelings and stuff. All these ideas were animated and elevated and entangled in the first volu...more
With the exception of the second part of the posthumous papers (which I intend to browse over time), I've finished. I don't know how Musil could have finished this novel but the ample material he provided us is enough to make it worthy of comparison to Joyce and Mann.
The galley chapters are worth reading and the selections from Ulrich's journal on emotions are absolutely brilliant.
I am somewhat saddened by having reached my endpoint in reading this book since I feel as though, even after nearl...more
The quintessential 'ideas' novel, where twenty page long discourses on the meaning of love can happen after 'I love you'. It's thick and interlaced with meaning, and it works just fine that way.

This edition had several hundred pages of notes and earlier drafts, which were also fascinating.
Stephen P
It happens after the transfer. The tedium, then the lurking state of thought-rush, irretrievable perceptions. It may be for three minutes or many hours. I no longer live in time. I am alone in the small cottage. It isn't that I have anything to prove. Simply, I want to be alone with my thoughts. The absence of the weight of another person's unspoken ideas became important. Oppression has become my medium.
The transfer occurs in stages. It must be thought out first. Each stage etched into the mi...more
Depois de ter ficado francamente espantado com a genialidade do Volume 1, eu estava realmente animado com a abertura deste livro. Eu sabia que depois ele continha apenas espaços em branco. Eu estava um pouco com medo de ser decepcionado, mas eu era um bocado curioso.

Eu estava agradavelmente surpreso ao descobrir que as primeiras 450 páginas contém os primeiros capítulos da terceira parte, que estava sendo escrito sobre a morte de Musil. As próximas cem páginas também foram dadas para a publicaç...more
Pierre E. Loignon
Après avoir été franchement épaté par la génialité du tome 1, j’étais vraiment enthousiaste en ouvrant ce livre. Je savais qu’il ne contenait que des ébauches pour la suite. J’avais un peu peur d’être déçu, mais j’étais trop curieux. Il me fallait aller lire ça tout de suite!
J’ai donc été très agréablement surpris de découvrir que les 450 premières pages contiennent les premiers chapitres publiés de la troisième partie qui était alors en cours d’écriture lors du décès de Müsil. Les cent pages su...more
Predisposta alla follia
"Délire à deux: Si tratta di due persone, delle quali una è folle e l'altra predisposta alla follia. La prima di solito ha del talento, la seconda scarsa intelligenza. Attraverso un contatto continuo, quest'ultima, subendo costantemente l'urto di idee confuse e sregolate..." (dagli Appunti "C" per i primi abbozzi su Clarisse)

Ecco, son dovuta arrivare alla fine per trovare descritto il mio rapporto con Musil.
Che di follia si tratta l'averlo letto in contemporanea nelle edi...more
Musil's continuation of 'The Man Without Qualities' takes us even deeper into the turn of the century continental psyche. Ulrich and Agathe deliberate both the will and legacy of their late father as well as the nature of morality, human sexuality, and perhaps the unconscious. There are extraordinary additions to Musil's elaborate cathedral of ideas and characters, such as the brief visit to the asylum to meet Moosbrugger, the intriguing murderer and psychopath that haunts the imaginations of th...more
Well, I could no more ever really "finish" reading the material in this volume than the benighted Musil could finish writing his novel. It's an exercise in fascination and frustration unparalleled in my reading experience. The rich exploration of consciousness and how to live in a de-centered world continues but the story spins toward total entropy as the impossibility of what Musil was trying to imagine looms larger. Yet, as some insightful critics have recognized, he was on to something that r...more
Anything I would say is not up to the task. A book like nothing else I have ever read. A daunting, but rewarding read. Not a short walk around the block for sure, but worth every minute.

Among other things, a long exploration of contradictions, opposites, disjointed pairings, truth found at polar opposites....

One of those books I know will stick in my head for a long, long time to come.
hovering life
someone called this book the underwear of the soul. and the intimacy suggest musil had a great understanding of human nature. not in the last place a complete honest relation with his wife martha was a great benefit in diving so deep in these matters i think.
On second read, this volume is much less interesting and enjoyable than the first. Musil wonderful sarcasm and almost bitter humor are nearly absent and he grapples with "big questions" with much less grace.
this is undoubtedly the most underrated book i have ever read in my entire life. amazing. i must have underlined somethign thought provoking on every second page.
Juan Manuel  Charry Urueña
La minucia de los sentimientos, la reflexión inesperada, y el amor como negación que necesita del contexto. Se trata de una obra monumental, rica en detalles, que transita por los vericuetos de la mente (espíritu y alma) humanas, que se asoma a la existencia sin dios y transgrede la moral. Es una obra inconclusa que permite ver bocetos y la arquitectura y diseño del trabajo. Anotaciones del traductor Pedro Madrigal: La historia de las personas, estudiada en la Historia. Ulrich no tiene ninguna p...more
Since so many others burnt out before finishing the posthumous papers, I guess I can join in on considering this "read". Taking volume 1 into account, this was about 1100 pages of tantalizing setup. The themes were pretty blatant but the characters were interesting enough that I feel the loss of their story lines. And it was pretty dissatisfying not to see all those themes come to fruition (too bad)...
William S.
I only finished the publicized portion plus a few other parts whose titles seemed intriguing. I'm happy I read this book, which continues the wonderful first volume, but nonetheless does not stand up to the first's wonderful intrigue that it brings. The ideas are even more scattered leaving the reader slightly helpless with a bunch of beautiful concepts. This books discussion of good and evil is possibly one of the most interesting to read.

I would recommend this for anyone who has a wish to con...more
aesthetics of the self, attempts at modeling oneself in a world that is not one's own. what of ethics? oh my! where does this lead? to pure skepticism?
I am not sure where it is going yet and i probably won't finish for months, but that will be fine. the book is constant and tuff and drones along with consistency. i find it difficult to remember many parts. reading pt 1 and 2 close together would probably suit the book better than a years absense.
Sep 26, 2007 Ted rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in literature's supreme intellectual challenge
There is more on a single page of this masterpiece than most novels hold in their entireties. It is a work of unparalleled genius (so don't ask what it's about, as I would not be able to say).
I finished reading the passages published in Musil's lifetime, then tossed in the towel. An interesting doorstop, as I explained to Kelsey.
The genius of this tomb? "The story of this novel amounts to this, that the story that ought to be told in it is not told." - Musil
"and for the rest, it was like trying to pick up a glass of water without the glass."
Volume 2 is, in my opinion, unnecessary.
It's still unfinished - like Schubert
johanna asterisk
Jul 06, 2007 johanna asterisk rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: proust fans
of course you must read the second !!
Apr 28, 2008 Lou rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lou by: jeff d
also read in february 1999
Jul 07, 2009 Arild marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 39 40 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Lord Chandos Letter: And Other Writings
  • The Sleepwalkers
  • Berlin Alexanderplatz
  • The Assistant
  • Memoirs of an Anti-Semite
  • Gargoyles
  • Remembrance of Things Past: Volume II - The Guermantes Way & Cities of the Plain
  • The Little Girls
  • Burning Secret
  • Fräulein Else
  • Kaputt
  • Miss MacIntosh, My Darling
  • Lenz
  • O Último Voo Do Flamingo
  • Watt
  • Flight Without End
  • The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro
Austrian writer.

He graduated military boarding school at Eisenstadt (1892-1894) and then Hranice, in that time also known as Mährisch Weißkirchen, (1894-1897). These school experiences are reflected in his first novel - The confusions of young Törless.

He served in army during World War I. When Austria became a part of the Third Reich in 1938, Musil left for exile in Switzerland, where he died of...more
More about Robert Musil...
The Man Without Qualities The Confusions of Young Törless The Man Without Qualities Vol. 1: A Sort of Introduction and Pseudo Reality Prevails Five Women Drei Frauen

Share This Book

“Even in his greatest dedication to science he had never managed to forget that people's goodness and beauty come from what they believe, not from what they know.” 5 likes
More quotes…