Robert Musil’s work was interrupted at the time of his death in 1942, and many of his writings have been edited and published posthumously. The authoritative edition is Robert Musil, Gesammelte Werke, edited by Adolf Frisé (Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1978), to which I am referring throughout this book.
Frisé’s edition consists of two volumes. Volume 1, Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften, is divided into two parts. The first contains the sections of the novel that Musil published in 1930 and 1933; the second comprises a broad selection of unpublished chapters and early drafts for the novel, as well as sketches and commentaries drawn from Musil’s notebooks, which are today kept in the manuscript collection of the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna. Volume 2, Prosa und Stücke; Kleine Prosa, Aphorismen; Autobiographisches; Essays und Reden; Kritik, contains other published works by Musil, in addition to a multitude of unpublished and/or unfinished pieces. With the exception of The Man Without Qualities, all Musil’s major works are included in this volume: his first novel, Die Verwirrungen des Zöglings Törless (1906), the two novellas in Vereinigungen (1911), his two plays, Die Schwärmer (1924) and Vinzenz und die Freundin bedeutender Männer (1924), the three short stories published as Drei Frauen (1924), the prose work Nachlass zu Lebzeiten (1936), and his essays and articles on politics, ethics, literature, and aesthetics.
The greater part of Musil’s important notebooks has been published by Adolf Frisé in a carefully annotated two-volume edition entitled Tagebücher (Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1976). The title is somewhat misleading, however, because what is called “Diaries” (Tagebücher) actually amounts to an intellectual laboratory in which Musil summarized books that he read, related personal experiences, compiled philosophical aphorisms, expressed political views, and drafted literary works and essays.
A comprehensive edition of posthumous papers related to The Man Without Qualities is available in CD-ROM form: Der literarische Nachlass, edited by Friedbert Aspetsberger, Karl Eibl, and Adolf Frisé (Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1992). Musil’s doctoral dissertation (1908) is reprinted as Beitrag zur Beurteilung der Lehren Machs (Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1980). His correspondence has been edited and annotated by Adolf Frisé and published in two volumes under the title Briefe, 1901–1942 (Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1981), with index and commentary in volume 2.
As regards English translations of Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften, I have used the most recent one: Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities, 2 vols., translated by Sophie Wilkins and Burton Pike, editorial consultation by Burton Pike (New York: Knopf, 1995), the second volume contains a selection of unfinished material included in Frisé’s German edition. A selection of Musil’s essays is to be found in Robert Musil, Precision and Soul: Essays and Addresses, edited and translated by Burton Pike and David S. Luft (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990). Translations of texts from Nachlass zu Lebzeiten are taken from the edition that has appeared under the title Posthumous Papers of a Living Author, translated by Peter Wortsman (Hygiene, Colo.: Eridanos Press, 1987). Musil’s doctoral dissertation has been published in English under the title On Mach’s Theories, translated by Kevin Mulligan (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press; Munich: Philosophia, 1982). Finally, a truncated and abbreviated version of Adolf Frisé’s edition of Musil’s Tagebücher has recently appeared in English: Robert Musil, Diaries: 1899–1942, selected and translated by Philip Payne, edited and introduced by Mark Mirsky (New York: Basic Books, 1999). Since this translation appeared after the completion of my manuscript, I have not been able to refer to it.