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The Man Without Qualities: Vol. 2 (The Man Without Qualities #2)

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  712 Ratings  ·  51 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, 1072 pages
Published December 9th 1996 by Vintage (first published 1933)
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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
Vit Babenco
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“What we still refer to as a personal destiny is being displaced by collective processes that can finally be expressed in statistical terms.”
The main character – the man without qualities – continues to rebel against conformity and uniformity…
“…he had been annoyed countless times by his contemporaries’ capacity for enthusiasms, which almost invariably fasten on the wrong object and so end up destroying even what indifference has let survive.”
And he literally hates social conventionalities and fa
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hayattaki her şeyden bahsedebilmek, hepsini böyle bi kurgu içinde biraraya getirmek ve bunu yaparken mikroskobik detayların ince derinliklerini ilmek olarak kullanabilmek... keşke bitirebilseymiş, kitap hakkında hissettiğim tek kötü şey bu; yarım kalıp insanı da havada bırakma hali...
Apr 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: put-down-for-now
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
Stephen P
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: deutch
divine madness

that day in an early month of 2005 i took a high-speed train to heidelberg. my traveling companion was tmwq. the people in the coupe looked a bit gruesome to that book. oh yeah tmwq... after checking in a hotel i did a walk on the boxberg that is basically max planck institute dominion. in the evening looking out of the window of the hotel this is what i saw. the sky was blue at the bottom and pink on top. some fluffy clouds and birds gave it deepness and a private jet gave it even
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Luís C.
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gisela Kaufmann holding brilliantly, against wind and tide in 20 years the bookshop Buchladen, Parisian place devoted to German literature often notes with some sadness that now, behind a media chatter, the French will no longer really interested to this literature. If Kafka quote could still be very decorative in a conversation, most of his books were sleeping on the shelves without ever being read. As if talking about Musil and his Man Without Qualities was still very rewarding in so-called in ...more
Aug 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: german, fiction
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.
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ο άνθρωπος χωρίς ιδιότητες , ο Ζαρατούστρα του Μούζιλ!
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
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.
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
სამწუხაროა, თუმცა , შესაძლოა სიმბოლურიც, რომ რომანი დაუმთავრებელია და მაინც დიდი ინტერესით ველოდი ნარატივში პირველი მსოფლიო ომის შემოჭრას. ავტორმა ყველაფერი შეამზადა "დიდი სულიერი მოვლენისათვის", რომელზეც ყველა საუბრობდა და რომლის არსიც ყველასთვის ბუნდოვანი იყო. ეს ბუნდოვანება და სულიერი სიბერწე კი მასობრივმა ხოცვა-ჟლეტამ ჩაანაცვლა. მუზილის ოსტატობა და იმ ამოცანის, თუ როგორ მივიდა ევროპა ომამდე, ჩინებული გადაჭრა სწორედ იმაში მჟღავნდება, რომ მკითხველიც ფურცლიდან ფურცლამდე იმსჭვალება აზრით - რაღა ...more
Jon Norimann
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
Volume two of Musil's Masterpiece is slightly more focused than vol 1. Other than that its mostly more of the same. The hero, Ulrich, walks through life commenting on daily events. It becomes a literary version of the TV series Seinfeld, mostly about "nothing". Musil does have some original ideas and choice of words here and there but to me it overall just becomes many pages of rather dull musings.
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
Can one finish a book that itself is unfinished? I've stopped reading in the fourth book, feeling that I was going where the novel itself had not gone -- through a final editing to a finished or abandoned work. Here we're approaching the territory of the well-known idea that a novel is never finished, it's simply abandoned. Thus death prevented Robert Musil from getting The Man Without Qualities to the point of abandonment.

So I'll say a bit about the parts he abandoned to print during his lifeti
Oct 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2012
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
May 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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.
Sep 20, 2010 added it
It's still unfinished - like Schubert
Sep 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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).
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zie deel 3
Juan Manuel  Charry Urueña
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: main
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
Spre deosebire de acest al doilea volum, primul Omul fara insusiri #1 era „citibil”, chiar dacă doar 1-2 capitole pe zi (densitatea ideilor din roman este covârşitoare).

Din acest volum am reţinut o idee despre psihanaliză care, în opinia unui personaj, reprezintă doar confesiunea religioasă (spovedania) adaptată timpului nostru ştinţific şi împopoţonată cu termeni noi:

... lumea se îmbulzește la doctorii care sunt acum la modă mai de zor decât la confesionalul din bisericile noastre catolice. Î
Chuck LoPresti
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is an exhaustive read that few will finish. Check out Stendhal first perhaps - if you dig that - you'll have a better chance here. I've read some negative comments about the translation that I can understand because the prose, in this translation, is dense and cerebral - but nothing breathtaking. The intellectual depth of this psychological is profound, it reads much like some of the less inspired Walter Benjamin I've experienced. That is to say it inspires deep thought when I'm focused - a ...more
Jun 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: belletristik
13.02.2015 Dieser Text ist eindeutig für mich, neben Proust eine eingene Galaxie, ein eigenes Sprach- und Erlebnisuniversum. Konnte ich schon die Faszination des ersten Bandes nicht annähernd in Worte fassen so gelingt es mir bei diesem, in weiten Teilen aus Fragmenten bestehenden Band noch weniger. Eine unglaubliche Gedanken und Bildfülle strömt auf den Leser ein. Oft mich und die Zeit fortreißend und dann wieder so fordernd und zäh wie nur denkbar. Meine Lieblingsfigur, schon des ersten Bandes ...more
Timons Esaias
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
It probably took me most of a decade to read all of THE MAN WITHOUT QUALITIES, which is often compared to Proust and to Joyce's ULYSSES. It really does amount to the Austrian equivalent of those two, but since its theme is impotence, it lacks the force of either.

The person who encouraged me to read Musil observed that she "liked it because you don't have to read it sequentially, you can open it anywhere and just read." It can be read that way, since essentially nothing happens in the whole cours
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This "novel of ideas" is profound. There were many times, I have to admit, I was not up to the task of reading it and comprehending all Musil was trying to impart. Still, so much of what Musil wrote in 1930s Vienna resounds clearly in the 21st century world.
Ulrich is an engaging main character. A man with qualities, but qualities that are elusive, Ulrich says all sorts of things and avoids being held to any of them. So too, with his relationships. There is a sexual tension between Ulrich and ne
May 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Reading Volume 2 of The Man Without Qualities is a very different experience to Volume 1. In some ways the change in focus from systemic concerns, to the personal and moral is less engaging. Added to this the second volume is more incomplete, fewer things are concluded, and there is even less narrative structure. However, the final 30 pages are a treasure trove of reflections bound to resonant as strongly as anything in volume one, and very well tie together the slightly meandering discourse on ...more
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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 about Robert Musil...

Other Books in the Series

The Man Without Qualities (3 books)
  • The Man Without Qualities: Vol. 1
  • The Man Without Qualities: Vol 3
“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.” 13 likes
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