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The Austrian author Robert Musil devoted the bulk of his life to one great book, The Man Without Qualities.

This epic story, part satire and part philosophy, consists of three books. Parts One and Two were completed in before Musil's death in 1942, but the third book was left unfinished and published posthumously as such.

The recent authoritative edition translated by Burton Pike and Sophie Wilkins, contains many of the alternate drafts and galleys left behind by Musil. This book served as a jumping off point for my good friend Mary Sale, Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis, to attempt to finish Musil's work. Now retired, this is something of a labor of love for her and is not being done with any thought of publication. Nonetheless, I am lucky enough to be part of the very small coterie of friends who are playing an intimate part in this engrossing task.

There is something a little awe-inspiring in attempting to satisfactorily complete a work that is judged one of the finest literary achievements of the 20th century, and to be part of the synthetic and creative process that is currently underway is a source of great pleasure and intellectual stimulation for me.

I do not lead a dull life. 🙂