Diaries: Robert Musil, 1899-1942 (Hardback)

by Robert Musil, Mark Jay Mirsky

Format: Hardback 624 pages

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One of the twentieth centurys great novelists, Robert Musil is often compared to Proust, Joyce, and Kafka. His The Man Without Qualities is uniformly regarded as a supreme achievement in literature. The diaries give us insight into its author, the process by which it was created and the culture that made it necessary. . This selection from the diaries is based on the exhaustive 1976 German edition prepared by Adolf Fris. Most of its sketches, anecdotes, and personal reflections have been translated into English. An acute political and cultural observer, Musil recorded in these pages his experiences of Berlin at the outbreak of World War I and service in the Austrian army on the Italian Front. The last notebooks chronicle Hitlers rise to power and Musils exile in Switzerland. The diaries are valuable in a number of ways: as a first-hand historical document of life in twentieth century central Europe, as a kind of unwitting autobiography of a great novelist, and as a writers workbook that details the moods of artistic adventure. The Diaries of Robert Musil are a secret look into the life and mind of a writer whose fiction embodies one of the twentieth centurys daring leaps of consciousness. Ranked with Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust, and James Joyce in the pantheon of European modernists, Musil attempted to apply the precision of his scientific training to the utmost bounds of the imagination. In a series of notebooks kept through most of his literary career, Musil reflected, often through stunning epigrams, on his childhood, his erotic life, his methods of creative thought and his fellow writers. An indispensable guide to his fiction, essays and plays, the pages of the diaries provide a skeleton key for his complex unfinished masterpiece The Man Without Qualities. Known for extreme personal reticence among his contemporaries, Musil in the diaries (which were never intended for publication), speaks nakedly of himself and the chaotic events he lived through. This selection from the diaries is based on the exhaustive 1976 German edition prepared by Adolf Fris. Most of its sketches, anecdotes and personal reflections have been translated into English. An acute political and cultural observer, Musil recorded in these pages his experiences of Berlin at the outbreak of World War I and service in the Austrian army on the Italian Front. The last notebooks chronicle Hitlers rise to power and Musils exile in Switzerland. The diaries are valuable in a number of ways: as a first-hand historical document of life in twentieth century central Europe, as a kind of unwitting autobiography of a great novelist, and as a writers workbook that details the moods of artistic adventure. In the diaries Robert Musil challenged himself to think about a reality beyond the world that could be apprehended by logic, to entertain the possibilities of forbidden eroticism, to imagine the hidden mystical life of Fascist Europe, and to turn the question of sexual gender into the puzzle of identity.

Book details

Published
01/01/1999

Publisher
Basic Books

ISBN
9780465016501


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