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The Man Without Qualities Study Guide & Plot Summary

This Study Guide consists of approximately 62 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Man Without Qualities.
This section contains 369 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Man Without Qualities Study Guide

The Man Without Qualities Summary & Study Guide Description

The Man Without Qualities Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil.

Plot Summary

This is the first volume of a two-volume work. There is a Foreword. This has been provided for the purposes of helping acclimate 21st century American readers to the book and the author. The cultural differences are normally very evident to foreigners. Musil relocated from Germany to Austria and then from Austria to Switzerland. In Switzerland he tried both Zurich and Geneva with Geneva proving to be a place that suited him better. Though born in the 19th century, this man lived a primarily 20th century life. The Cultural Campaign in the nations of this region was well under way and is a healthy preoccupation for the upper classes. The woman are encouraged to learn and to nurture the arts as well as the children in these atmospheres.

The novel is about some important philosophical concepts. One of these is human nature, qualities and character. This includes matters of morality. What is a man without qualities? How is such a man different from a man with qualities? Early in the novel, Ulrich is shown to have a father who has qualities even if he doesn't have qualities. Later, the same concept comes up during a discussion of the murderer, Moosbrugger. This abates for a while and then the concept returns when Ulrich explores what are qualities and can they viewed separately from a given individual?

The novel is about a murder case, a cultural campaign to improve the quality of life in the German triad of nations, with plenty of romance in the background. There are people of the upper and middle classes in the novel, and their relationships are explored and revealed. The author shares some insightful ideas with the readers and he does this painlessly. The general audience for the book was presumed to be an educated Austrian or German national in its original and has been rendered as faithfully as possible into the English language. In the end, Diotima proves to be an excellent hostess and her guests at the very highest echelons of society are shown to behave in accordance with the laws of human nature that they seek out people with whom they are more familiar with whom to chat at parties.

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This section contains 369 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Man Without Qualities Study Guide
The Man Without Qualities from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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