Five Women by Robert Musil
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The Austrian Robert Musil (1880-1942), a central figure in the modernist movement, is known primarily for his magnum opus, The Man Without Qualities. But here, in these five stories stories as crucial to the understanding of The Man Without Qualities (and Musil's immense literary influence and significance) as Joyce's Dubliners is to Ulysses, he displays another face, one that is by turn extravagant, sensual, mystical, and autobiographical. As Frank Kermode notes in his preface, these stories "are elaborate attempts to use fiction for its true purposes, the discovery and regeneration of the human world." In that redefinition of fiction, Robert Musil's name is writ large.

Five Women has gone through three printings as a Godine Nonpareil book. We are now proud to reissue it as the newest edition to the Verba Mundi library of modern world literature.

About Robert Musil

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Musil's Young Torless is a novel of troubled adolescence set in a military school, modeled on the one attended by both Musil and Rainer Maria Rilke. It was his first book and was immediately successful. He then abandoned his studies in engineering, logic, and experimental psychology and turned to writing. He was an officer in the Austrian army in World War I, lived in Berlin until the Nazis came to power, and finally settled in Geneva. He also wrote plays, essays, and short stories. The Man without Qualities, Musil's magnum opus, is a novel about the life and history of prewar Austria. It was unfinished when Musil died, though he had labored over the three-volume work for ten years. Encyclopedic in the manner of Proust and Dostoevsky, "it is a wonderful and prolonged fireworks display, a well-peopled comedy of ideas" (V. S. Pritchett)---and a critique of contemporary life. It made Musil's largely posthumous reputation. "Musil's whole scheme prophetically describes the bureaucratic condition of our world, and what can only be called the awful, deadly serious, and self-deceptive love affair of one committee for another" (Pritchett).
Published July 16, 2010 by David R Godine. 222 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Of the later three stories (and all of them deal with an attempt to isolate love through sensory experience) Tonka is the strongest in which a young man resists and affirms his responsibility for a simple, common little creature who nevertheless objectifies a certain innocence and purity-- ""a sn...

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The recent translations of The Man Without Qualities and Musil's Diaries have shown why the Austrian writer is often thought of as Germanic literature's Proust, and this newly translated English version of his five hefty stories demonstrates that the novelist's work in shorter fiction also bears ...

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