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Precision and Soul: Essays and Addresses Paperback – 1 Nov 1994


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Product details

  • Paperback: 329 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; New edition edition (1 Nov. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226554090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226554099
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,269,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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There is something undeniably boring about ordering thoughts long familiar to reasonably clever people for the sake of some external purpose. Read the first page
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Nov. 1999
Format: Paperback
I am writing this review for the sole reason of absolutely refuting "Eric Rudolph"'s review of this book. Anyone that has ever read a word of Musil's writing knows that it is exact and the analogies are terrifyingly close. Apparently Eric Rudolph is more interested in the popular opinions of Musil than Musil's own thinking processes and expressive constellations. Do yourself a favor and get injected with Musil. If you have already felt the rush, this book is a good place to get some more hits. The title of each essay in this book is more revealing than an entire volume of Proust, despite the critics and other victims of manufactured subjectivity.
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1 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 April 1999
Format: Paperback
Readers will save themselves much unrewarding labor by disregarding both "Precision and soul" and, I daresay, the highly-touted "Man Without Qualities," reading instead his first work "Young Torless" and the stories collected under "Five Women." Musil's derivative philosophical and psychological preoccupations invite inevitable comparisons with Nietzsche and Freud, both of whose work is vastly more durable and fruitful. Despite the powerfully bracing, if not occasionally repellent, astringency of his style, Musil's work subsequent to "Five Women" falls considerably short of his enormous and difficult ambitions which preoccupied his later labors; and, what's more, such a gaping failure of world-historical pretension tends to pollute enjoyments one might otherwise have had in reading it.
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0 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 April 1999
Format: Paperback
Readers will save themselves much unrewarding labor by disregarding both "Precision and soul" and, I daresay, the highly-touted "Man Without Qualities," reading instead his first work "Young Torless" and the stories collected under "Five Women." Musil's derivative philosophical and psychological preoccupations invite inevitable comparisons with Nietzsche and Freud, both of whose work is vastly more durable and fruitful. Despite the powerfully bracing, if not occasionally repellent, astringency of his style, Musil's work subsequent to "Five Women" falls considerably short of the enormous and difficult ambitions which preoccupied his maturity; and, what's more, such a gaping failure of world-historical pretension tends to pollute enjoyments one might otherwise have had in reading it. Read something by one whose enormous abilities are truly equal to ungodly ambitions -- read Proust.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
If you like Tolstoy you will like Musil 30 Jan. 2005
By William Kasehoff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To anyone that is on the brink of reading Musil for the first time: DO IT! It is very rewarding...These essays are very well written in a clear and simple language (which covers difficult subject matters) and are well translated in this collection.

Anyone who has read "War and Peace" and appreciated it will most definitely be drawn in by Musil's obvious ultimate goal of explaining everything. In his long masterpiece, "The Man Without Qualities," Musil included several essayistic sections in the same manner that Tolstoy did with "War and Peace." Critics dismissed the structure of Tolstoy's famous classic, claiming that his philosophizing and the more polemical sections have no place within "the novel."

This is, in my opinion, an extremely lame stance to take and should raise the question: What is the purpose and goal of such a person who makes such claims? This is the critic in the worst sense of the word.

Musil and Tolstoy obviously concerned with the larger issues that have tormented all great Western thinkers of the past millenia. If these larger issues interest you as well and you are looking for some bold attempts at achieving "a coverage of everything," Musil is the author for you. If, on the other hand, you prefer writers like Nabokov, Proust, and Joyce (all writers that were DEFINITELY more concerned with style than anything else), than maybe you will be unimpressed by Musil's incredible attempt to actually say something.

Don't get me wrong: Proust, Joyce, and Nabokov are all writers that "had something to say," but give me a break...they are the writer's writers more than anything else. Not that Musil and Tolstoy were not great stylists (both were revolutionary innovators), but the essayism so apparent in their works would be deemed "unacceptable" only by snobbish and useless critics who are much more concerned with their own ego than actually humbling themselves before a great author (because no author is great anymore, according to them, the only great ones).

With all of this said, forgive me for deviating from a discussion of this particular book, which is an excellent body of essays by Musil that shed light on his overall thinking. For those that have not read "The Man Without Qualities," this book could serve as a quicker way to "check him out" and get an idea of what he his about before embarking on his major work. For those that have read it, these essays will provide very useful additional insight into this GREAT and very complex mind.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
ROBERT MUSIL IS A GENIUS BUT THIS TRANSLATION IS HORRIBLE! 8 April 2014
By Jean Philippe Cornelis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I like very much Robert Musil but this is a horrible, unreadable translation!
I REALLY BELIEVE THAT WE ARE IN A TIMES OF BIGG STUPID FOOLS!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Five Stars 5 July 2014
By Ben Cunningham - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent
4 of 48 people found the following review helpful
An author over-promoted from obscurity. 12 April 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Readers will save themselves much unrewarding labor by disregarding both "Precision and soul" and, I daresay, the highly-touted "Man Without Qualities," reading instead his first work "Young Torless" and the stories collected under "Five Women." Musil's derivative philosophical and psychological preoccupations invite inevitable comparisons with Nietzsche and Freud, both of whose work is vastly more durable and fruitful. Despite the powerfully bracing, if not occasionally repellent, astringency of his style, Musil's work subsequent to "Five Women" falls considerably short of the enormous and difficult ambitions which preoccupied his maturity; and, what's more, such a gaping failure of world-historical pretension tends to pollute enjoyments one might otherwise have had in reading it. Read something by one whose enormous abilities are truly equal to ungodly ambitions -- read Proust.
6 of 58 people found the following review helpful
An author over-promoted from obscurity. 12 April 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Readers will save themselves much unrewarding labor by disregarding both "Precision and soul" and, I daresay, the highly-touted "Man Without Qualities," reading instead his first work "Young Torless" and the stories collected under "Five Women." Musil's derivative philosophical and psychological preoccupations invite inevitable comparisons with Nietzsche and Freud, both of whose work is vastly more durable and fruitful. Despite the powerfully bracing, if not occasionally repellent, astringency of his style, Musil's work subsequent to "Five Women" falls considerably short of his enormous and difficult ambitions which preoccupied his later labors; and, what's more, such a gaping failure of world-historical pretension tends to pollute enjoyments one might otherwise have had in reading it.
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