"The Man Without Qualities stands alongside Proust's Remembrance of Things Past and Joyce's Ulysses as one of the three literary masterworks of modernism. Dazzlingly written, ferocious, suffused with a high, ironic intelligence, it uses Viennese high society on the eve of World War I to chronicle the decay and collapse of the entire Old World and, with utter prescience, to explore all that would follow in our Age of Anxiety. At the heart of this astonishing novel is Ulrich: youngish, rich, an ex-soldier, a seducer, a scientist—the man without qualities. Although he is eager for influence and worldly success, his self-awareness sets him apart from those around him. Unable to deceive himself that the jumble of attributes and values and behaviors that his world has bestowed on him amounts to anything so innate as his 'character,' his 'ego,' he is effectively a man 'without qualities,' a brilliant detached observer of the spinning, racing society around him...."