Intimate Ties


Translated from by






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Book Description

First published in 1911, Intimate Ties is Robert Musil’s second book, consisting of two novellas, “The Culmination of Love” and “The Temptation of Silent Veronica.” Each revolves around a troubled woman in the throes of her sexual and romantic woes, as their memories of the past return to influence their present desires. Musil tracks the psyche of his protagonists in a blurring of impressions that is reflected in his experimental prose. Intimate Ties offers the reader an early glimpse of the high modernist style Musil would perfect in his magnum opus The Man Without Qualities.

Musil’s linguistic facility – the merging of aim, manner and result – is virtuosic. He’s such a consummate stylist that after him Kafka may seem immature, Mann chatty, Brecht arch, Rilke precious and Walter Benjamin hermetic. And Peter Wortsman’s translation is splendid, succeeding in capturing this author’s unique combination of quizzical authority and austere hedonism.

Anthony Heilbut, The New York Times Book Review

(These stories) mimic the circular thought patterns of private obsession with such authenticity that they could easily frighten readers ... each novella scrutinizes the inchoate nature of the human psyche with great audacity and compassion, and each functions as a resolute exploration of the limitations of self-expression through language.
Will Harrison, The Hudson Review

I don’t read German, but everyone I have talked to who does and who has read Musil has told me how difficult it is to render in English the carefully considered but revolutionarily radical way he had with words. Fortunately, here Musil has Peter Wortsman, who works wonders with the text.

David Keymer

Watch Peter Wortsman in conversation with Archipelago translator Tess Lewis, for NYC’s 3-day (virtual) Saint Jordi Festival

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