Home » Austria » Robert Musil

Robert Musil


Robert Musil was born in Klagenfurt in 1880. His father was an engineer (he made improvements to the steam turbine) but, like his son, had eclectic interests (he was also a portrait painter). His mother was a gifted pianist. He started off at military college and then went to study civil engineering and subsequently switched to psychology and philosophy in Berlin, publishing a dissertation on Mach’s theories. He worked as a librarian before writing a play Die Anarchisten [The Anarchists] (later known as Die Schwärmer (The Enthusiasts)). During the First World War he worked as a press attaché. After the war, he worked as a civil servant before becoming a freelance writer. He lived variously in Vienna, Berlin and Geneva, where he died in 1942, unknown and in poverty. He is best know for two novels – Die Verwirrungen des Zögling Törless (Young Törless), which was made into a well-known film by German director Volker Schlöndorff and Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften (The Man Without Qualities), one of the greatest 20th century novels, which he started in the early twenties and which was to occupy him for the rest of his life (it was incomplete on his death).

Books about Robert Musil

Lowell A. Bangerter: Robert Musil
Karl Dinklage: Robert Musil: Leben, Werk, Wirkung (in German)
Hannah Hickman: Robert Musil & the Culture of Vienna
Hannah Hickman: Robert Musil and the Literary Landscape of His Time
David S. Luft: Robert Musil and the Crisis of European Culture, 1880-1942

Other links

Robert Musil
Robert Musil
A Writer With Qualities
Robert Musil (in German)
Robert Musil (in German)
Robert Musil (in German)
Robert Musil (1880-1942) (in German)
Musil, Robert (in German)


1906 Die Verwirrungen des Zögling Törless (Young Törless)
1908 Beitrag zur Beurteilung der Lehren Machs (On Mach’s Theories)
1911 Vereinigungen. Zwei Erzählungen
1921 Die Schwärmer. Schauspiel in drei Aufzügen (The Enthusiasts)
1923 Grigia. Novelle
1923 Die Portugiesin
1924 Drei Frauen (Five Women) (sic)
1926 Vinzenz und die Freundin bedeutender Männer. Possen in drei Akten
1927 Rede zur Rilke Feier in Berlin am 16. Januar
1930 Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften (The Man Without Qualities) 1. und 2. Teil
1933 Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften (The Man Without Qualities) 3. Teil
1936 Nachlass zu Lebzeiten (Posthumous Papers of a Living Author)
1937 Über die Dummheit
1963 Aus den Tagebüchern
1965 Theater : Kritisches und Theoretisches
1965 Tonka and Other Stories
1966 Vereinigungen. 2 Erzählungen
1967 Die Amsel
1968 Sämtliche Erzählungen
1970 Three Short Stories
1971 Briefe nach Prag
1977 Tagebücher (Diaries)
1978 Frühe Prosa, und aus dem Nachlass zu Lebzeiten
1978 Gesammelte Werke
1981 Briefe
1986 Selected Writings
1990 Precision and Soul : Essays and Addresses
2015 Thought Flights (stories)