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Musil Diaries: Robert Musil, 1899-1941 Paperback – 10 Dec 1999


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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The penetrating mind of R. Musil 27 Nov. 2000
By Jeff Bursey - Published on Amazon.com
As other commentators have said, Musil's diaries reveal this fascinating writer's process of thought, and are not filled with the usual "then he said something and we laughed and ordered another round" entries. In the regrettable absence of an autobiography or good biography, the _Diaries_ are a good substitute.
Musil's eye is at once poetic and objective. I could only be astounded by the maturity of the young artist. His description of a horse laughing, of sunset on windows, of a waterfall looking like a silver comb, of his emotions when he and his wife Martha argue, show a sensitivity sharpened by training. Musil captures things as they appear to him with a minimum of fussiness. Also, there is often a sharp humour which comes flashing out.
Some people don't like _The Man Without Qualities_ and prefer some of Musil's other writings. Whichever works one prefers, these diaries illuminate Musil and his writings from within.
I'll add two minor complaints about the layout of the book to those already voiced. I object to endnotes, believing footnotes easier to read. Why flip forward and back so often? Some of the endnotes are repetitive, and greater care should have been taken over them. But those are small things, and have more to do with editorial decisions than with Musil, who here steps forth from a kind of shadow (for english readers).
This book can't be recommended highly enough.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, yet inadequate 21 July 2000
By Walter O. Koenig - Published on Amazon.com
Robert Musil is one of the most complex and little known authors of the 20th Century. I am sure that anyone who has read "The Man without Qualities" will want to know more about Musil after getting to know his writing. Sadly, there is no adequate Biography available, even in German, so one of the best ways to get to know the Author is through his fascinating Diary. These were actually more Notebooks than Diaries, and they contain an encylopedic array of information on Musil himself, his intests, his ideas, and most interestingly his plans for the "Man without Qualities". So it is must reading for those interested in Musil. The English Translation Compilation, has two major flaws. First, it lacks an Index and other Critical Apparatus, and secondly, we do not which criteria were used to re-edit the Notebooks, which were originally edited by Adolf Frise. The German Edition has one Volume of Diaries = 1,000 pages and one Volume of Notes and Indices = 1,500, pages, making it useful for scholarly research, to look up subjects, names and places, and most fascinating Musil's sources. Still the English edition is of great interest to those unaquainted with Musil.
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