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  • Margaret H de Z from Carshalton, Sutton, United Kingdom says:

    Very interesting site. Thank you.

    I recently discovered that my grandfather was an officer in Vienna in WW1 and later a manager of a collective farm in Ukraine following WW2 under the Soviets.

  • Harry Dixon from Berkeley, CA, United States says:

    Please let me address a comment to you individually:

    “The Maltese Falcon” makes a fascinating contrast to “Young Toerless.” Robert Musil was forced into exile, Dashiell Hammett who wrote “The Maltese Falcon” was sent to prison.

    The movie version of “Young Toerless” is fascinating, but the fact that it never had a general release in the USA is in some ways even more interesting.

    Without some sort of moral imperative, phenomenology leads to the vilest of animalism.

    Incredible though it may seems, the New York critics made the mistake of thinking Robert Musil was writing about ONLY Germany and did not know that Volker Schloendorff was educated at a FRENCH Jesuit school.

    Needless to say, phenomenology has created problems ALL of us have to deal with every day.

    • admin from Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands says:

      Hello Harry,
      Thank you for your comments.
      I loved the Schloendorf movie when I saw it many years ago. It is a very European intellectual movie: I am not surprised it didn’t got a general release in the US: it is some sort of cult-movie in Europe too.

      It is suprising to find Torless linked to The Maltese Falcon. Of ocurse I have seen the Bogart interpretation, but I alwasy thought Hammet was merely a detective-story writer, be it a good one. After you comment I searched for an interesting read on the book and I found this: http://trueclassics.net/2011/09/09/feminist-fridays-the-women-of-the-maltese-falcon/.

      Musil wrote about Europe as we know it know, about the demise of Kakanien, the Austro-Hungarian empire, the beginning of modern day man. Not about Germany.

  • Hi Jerry. I just found your site and found it very interesting. I’ve never heard of this author but i’m now going to buy one of his books. Good luck with your 5 year old! Cheers, Simon.

  • Ashot Alexanian from YerevanArmenia says:

    That’s a big job you’ve done! The worlds the most famous writer and philosopher of all times – ROBERT MUSIL. The unique one, the most precious human being ever seen! Congratulations!

  • Jo from Stockton, CA, USA says:

    Thanks for your site it’s really great!

  • Kuphrer from BeijingChina says:

    Absolutely splendid!
    It’s so nice to have a site dedicated to the magnificently talented yet not sufficiently regarded author. Thank you Mr. van Beers! Long live this site!
    I’m Chinese too and yeah, it’s possible to translate this novel into Chinese.:) The translator did a fairly good job, but of course only the (old) English version has kept the unique flavor of the original novel. And I strongly recommend using the Wilkins-Kaiser translation every time an English version is concerned.
    Oh, I see there is a forum also! I will save my other comments there.
    Thank you again!

    • admin from Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands says:

      Thank you for your kind words.
      Recently I have been getting more comments on the older translation. I only know the pike/wilkins.

      But then: english is not my native tongue so some of the subtleties may be lost on me.
      Best wishes,
      Jerry van Beers

  • Jimmy Lo from says:

    Hello. I stumbled onto your Robert Musil website because I am reading The Man Without Qualities right now and was trying to find more information.

    Thanks for a great site.

    I noticed the forum wasn’t working. It would be nice to have a place to talk about and read others’ thoughts on Musil.

    I also noticed that the English version of his biography has occasional grammatical and spelling errors. These can mostly be easily fixed. Let me know if you want me to help you revise it.

    Lastly, I am reading a different translation of The Man Without Qualities (Wilkins and Kaiser translation) than the excerpts you’ve posted. I feel like the translation I’m reading is stronger than the newer translation (but of course this is subjective). Would it benefit the site to have excerpts from identical passages from two different translations, so that people can judge for themselves? If so, I can help provide these.

    Thanks again!

    ~jimmy.

    • admin from Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands says:

      Hello Jimmy,

      Thank you for your email.

      The forum stopped working because I disabled it: there were a lot of chinese shoe-makers and penis enlargers that wanted to registered and not too many people that were interested in Musil: I once spent a day removing all those fake people and their posts. The last Musil related post was in 2009. It was too much work to maintain. The idea, once, was to have a place to discuss the life and times of Robert Musil. It still would be nice to have such a place.

      As you may have noticed English is not my first language: improvements on the site are necessary and welcome. As are new excerpts. (Would you know a better word for that, by the way?)

      As it is I am working on a new and improved version of the site: I haven’t done that since 2003. It will be a Joomla site which will make it a Content Management System where users can register and edit articles. I do not know exactly when it will be live, but on my macbook pro it is working very well. I have to find the right hosting company to host a robertmusil.net domain.

      I will let you know when it is online.

      Best wishes,

      Jerry van Beers

  • Czeslaw Glogowski from Marina del Rey, CA, USA says:

    Hi,
    thank you for very well done, full of useful infos R. Musil site.
    Do you know Egon Naganowski’s monography/book (1st published in 1980-ties) about R. Musil’s life and works?
    Thanks and regards,
    - czeslaw glogowski

    • admin from Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands says:

      Hello Czeslaw,

      Thank you for your kind words. I have transferred the site to its own domain: http://www.robertmusil.net. Please have a look. It looks much better and has some updated and changed chapters.

      I do not know Naganowski’s monography: I assume it is Polish… I do not know too many Polish writers, but I love the ones I know Tadeusz Konwicki and my favourite Ryzchard Kapucinski.

      Best wishes,

      Jerry van Beers

  • Dan Shorer from says:

    Hello Jerry,
    Thanks for an enlightening site! My name is Dan Shorer and I am holding seminar titled: “Ulrich descends the Magic mountain” The idea is to bring Ulrich to Mann’s Magic Mountain and let hi – in the company of Settembrini, Naphta, Freud, Kafka, Broch, Braque, Pirandello and other protagonists of modernism – review the historical and intellectual abyss of European enlightened culture.
    If you happen to have any material that you think might be helpful, I’ll be very grateful.

    Thanks
    Dan Shorer

  • Harry Dixon from says:

    I graduated from Berkeley High School in 1962; got an AB in English from UCB in 1970 and an MBA from Haas in 1973.
    Despite the fact that I took German and thought I had read all the major German writers of the 20th century, I first found out about Robert Musil around around 2006 when the Swedish movie Evil was introduced to this country and a review mentioned Volker Schloendorf’s movie Young Toerless that came out in 1965.
    When I saw the movie I flipped because I felt that it showed that evil requires three characters: A sadist, an masochist and an audience. Curiously, I have been surprised that I am the only person who “noticed” this!
    I am surprised that you don’t mention this movie on your website and am curious to know whether you have seen it.
    Also, let me correct a few typos on your biography: “suit” is a pieces of clothing’ suite is several rooms; girl friend has no hyphen.
    I love your website, and putting up an English version was a great public service because little is known of Musil in the English speaking world, probably because he wrote eloquently about the Versailles Treaty cause the rise of the bad guys as Weimar collapsed in an orgy of naughtiness.

  • Russell Clarke from says:

    Just to say, your Musil site is absolutely splendid. I’m currently writing a book on Svevo, and am using Musil as a point of comparison. I am e-mailing to say thank you as yr guestbook is out of order.

    Thank you again for your wonderful site,

    Russell

  • Kathryn Gold from says:

    Thanks so much for your site on Robert Musil. I have just begun to read A MAN WITH QUALITIES, and I am so excited by it. I am forcing myself to read it slowly because I want this experience to last. I am reading the English version and think that the translation is very fine. Regards to you. Kathryn Gold

  • Jill Ireland from says:

    Dear Mr. van Beers:

    Thanks so much for your excellent site on Robert Musil. It is so useful when I try to explain to others why they should dive into such hefty tomes. (I have not yet personally met another individual who has even gotten through Volume I…when I do, I’m going to use all my non-existent extra funds for the purpose of “keeping” that person in luxurious circumstances for my personal conversational use.) I have read it almost every year since I discovered it in 1989, and it’s such a pleasure every time, no?

    Sorry for the email intrusion – it’s just too easy! I’ll check out your forums instead. (And thus avoid using business email for unapproved personal purposes, although Mr. Musil would have approved of my manner of earning my living, and Elray Jeppesen, our founder whom I worship and the first person to develop maps for aviation, would have approved of Robert Musil’s manner of thinking, I’m sure.)

    Best regards and thanks again!

    Jill Ireland

  • Skip Baudrick from says:

    Thank you for your site. It is helpful. I just started ” A Man Without Qualities”. I am in California and am retired. Thanks again, Skip Braudrick.

  • Harry Dixon from says:

    Dear Jerry, In the summary of 1969, I took a graduate seminar in the “Edwardian Novel” (1901-10) that was “team taught” by Gordon Ray, the President of the Guggenheim Foundation, and John Raleigh, Chairman of the UCB English Department and Vice-Chancellor for Academic affairs.

    Imagine my surprise at the ago of 60 to find out about Robert Musil who actually deals with the issues of this period and the “slide toward war”!

    What surprised me about your comments about yourself was the fact that you did not mention Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 or Volker Schloendorf’s movie of Der Junge Toerless.

    I am curious to know whether what I consider to be the obvious interpretation of Young Toerless is standard: that when standards and ideals are abandoned, brutes create a new world of animals; that evil requires a sadist, a masochist and an audience.

    Also, are Musil fans aware of the importance of 1906? It was the year the Empire of Japan defeated Russia on land an on sea, and it is generally considered that the failure to adopt radical reforms in 1906 led to the collapse of the European Empires in 1917.

    You are interested in edits: spell “suits” rather than “suites” on you personal page. [a suite is a group of room in English] Also “girl friend” rather than “girl-friend” although English is endlessly elastic so it doesn’t really matter. As the English love to point out, in addition to destroying civilization, we Americans are guilty of the far worse sin of Destroying the Language.

    If you are interested in this period, you might consider watching Carl Dreyer’s Michael which is from a novel by a Dane who was of Oscar Wilde’s generation, but probably, according to Danish scholar, far more distinguished intellectual that poor old Oscar.

    To be honest, I have been stunned to realize that the English speaking world, particularly the USA is ignorant of Musil. He makes F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway look like silly provincials!

    As ever, Harry Dixon

  • Matt Lambert from Seattle, WA, USA says:

    The site looks good. You must have changed the color since the post from Jonathan as I didn’t see any pages with a red background, and everything is quite readable.

    I must admit that I somewhat miss the more DIY aesthetic of the old site. The new site does look more professional . . . and maybe a wee bit drab. But it’s easy to read and navigate, and thus succeeds as a source of text-based information. And I suppose we shouldn’t expect things to remain the same after all.

    I’m not a Musil expert, so I can’t offer any pointers on any edits or additional content or links to add. And I must admit that I have not yet read all of “The Man Without Qualities” yet. But I will.

    I’m wondering if there are any good non-fiction books in English that explore the social and political context of the Austria inhabited by Ulrich et al. I’m sure there are, and I suppose I could research this on my own. But if anyone happens to know of such a book – preferably one that is accessible to the lay reader – I wouldappreciate the tip.

    -Matt

  • Matt Lambert from Seattle, WA, USA says:

    The site looks good. You must have changed the color since the post from Jonathan as I didn’t see any pages with a red background, and everything is quite readable.

    I must admit that I somewhat miss the more DIY aesthetic of the old site. The new site does look more professional . . . and maybe a wee bit drab. But it’s easy to read and navigate, and thus succeeds as a source of text-based information. And I suppose we shouldn’t expect things to remain the same after all.

    I’m not a Musil expert, so I can’t offer any pointers on any edits or additional content or links to add. And I must admit that I have not yet read all of “The Man Without Qualities” yet. But I will.

    I’m wondering if there are any good non-fiction books in English that explore the social and political context of the Austria inhabited by Ulrich et al. I’m sure there are, and I suppose I could research this on my own. But if anyone happens to know of such a book – preferably one that is accessible to the lay reader – I wouldappreciate the tip.

    -Matt

  • Alard von Kittlitz from says:

    Hello Jerry,

    First of all: Thank you very much for the great site on Musil. It helped me a great deal during the work on my paper for my Master’s in philosophy, which is the reason for my writing you: If you’d be interested, i’d happily forward that to you, perhaps you’d find that interesting. It’s on aspects of existential philosophy in “The Man Without Qualities”. I’m afraid it’s in german, though.

    Best,

    Alard

  • Jonathan Costa Saint-John from Mt Laurel, NJ, USA says:

    The content is awesome, there are areas that could go deeper, however I think in due time that will be discovered.

    You might want to change the color it is very hard to read with the red background.

    I would be very happy to assist in anyway — of course providing I can dedicate time — which I am currently short of. Nonetheless, please let me know if I can help.

    Jonathan (Boston, MA, USA)