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Dictionary of World Biography
Musil, Robert, Edler von (1880–1942). Austrian
novelist, born at Klagenfurt. He trained to be a
soldier (his Young Törless,1906, gives an unforgettable
picture of the military academy), then qualified as an
engineer and took a PhD in Berlin (1908) for a study
of the philosophy of Ernst *Mach. He worked as a
librarian in Vienna so that he could devote himself
to writing, served with the Austrian army during
World War I, then spent some years in Berlin and
acquired a modest reputation as a freelance writer.
He returned to Vienna in 1933 and moved from
there to Switzerland in 1938. He died in Geneva.
His masterwork was The Man Without Qualities (Der
Mann ohne Eigenschaften), a colossal work begun
in 1920 and left incomplete at his death, worthy
of ranking with *Joyce and *Proust. The central
character Ulrich (a self-portrait), a man of scientific
training unable to commit himself passionately to any
aspect of life, is given the post of secretary (in 1913)
of a committee charged with commemorating Franz
Josef ’s 70th anniversary as emperor by making 1918
‘the Austrian year’. The novel was first published in
English in 1953–60 in three volumes translated by
Eithne Wilkins and Ernst Kaiser. A new translation
by Sophie Wilkins appeared in 1995, with 635 pages
of Posthumous Papers translated by Burton Pike.
Musk, Elon Reeve (1971– ). Canadian-American
engineer and entrepreneur, born in South Africa. He
dropped out of Stanford, but created PayPal, which
he sold to eBay, then set up Space X, a commercial
space exploration company, and Tesla Motors, which
produced electric cars with radically improved battery
capacity.
Muskie, Ed(mund Sixtus) (1914–1996). American
Democratic politician. Son of a Polish immigrant
(the family name was Marciszewski) and educated
at Cornell, he served in the navy during World
War II, was Governor of Maine 1953–59 and a US
senator 1959–80. He ran for Vice President in 1968
with Hubert *Humphrey, sought the presidential
nomination in 1972 and served as Jimmy *Carter’s
Secretary of State 1980–81.
Mussadiq, Mohammed (1876–1967). Iranian
politician. During the earlier part of his career he
was Minister of Finance and of Justice. He became
Prime Minister in 1951, and almost his first act was
the nationalisation of the oil industry in defiance
of the 1933 convention with the Anglo-Iranian Oil
Company. He rejected any compromise settlement,
and this led to the evacuation of the Abadan
refinery and breaking off Anglo-Iranian relations.
His government fell in 1953 when Genera1 Zahedi
led a royalist uprising. On the Shah’s return Mussadiq
was tried and imprisoned. He was released in 1956.
Musset, Alfred de (1810–1857). French poet
and dramatist, born in Paris. He dabbled in law
and medicine and published, at the age of 18, a
translation of *De Quincey’s Confessions of an English
604
Opium Eater. As an aristocratic dandy he frequented
the literary circle of Victor *Hugo, who praised
his poems, Contes d’Espagne et d’Italie (1830). The
influence of Hugo’s Romanticism is evident in La
Nuit venitienne (1830), Musset’s first play: its failure
decided him to write plays for reading only. The hero
who agreeably combined charm with debauchery, and
the flirtatious but tender heroine were popular at this
period and A quoi révent les jeunes filles (1831) was a
typical and revealing title. In 1833, the year in which
appeared the witty and emotional prose plays André
del Sarto and Les Caprices de Marianne, began his
stormy love affair with George *Sand, described after
its breakup in his series of poems, Les Nuits (1835–
37). The autobiographical Confession d’un Enfant du
siècle (1836) also reflects the pessimism induced by
his sufferings. The play On ne badine pas avec l’amour
ends tragically but Le Chandelier (1836) shows
something of the old sparkle. Un Caprice (1837), had
such success that his later plays were frequently played
at the Comédie Française. Musset was elected to the
Académie Française in 1852.
Mussolini, Benito (Amilcare Andrea) (1883–1945).
Italian dictator, born at Predappio, near Forli. He early
absorbed the socialist and revolutionary views of his
blacksmith father. He started his career as a teacher
(1901) but a year later went to Switzerland, where
he lived as a revolutionary exile until 1904. In 1908
he served his first prison sentence for revolutionary
activity and then took to journalism. Having joined
a socialist paper at Trento (then in Austria) he became
fired with nationalist zeal for recovering the lost
provinces. Another term of imprisonment brought
him increased prestige in his own party and secured
him the editorship of the national socialist newspaper,
Avanti (1912). World War I caused him to split with
the socialists, who favoured neutrality. Mussolini saw
that only by joining the Allies could Italy regain from
Austria the unredeemed provinces, and in November
1914 he was editing his own paper Popolo d’Italia, a
powerful voice in favour of intervention. When Italy
entered the war (May 1915), he joined the army, but
after being wounded (February 1917) he returned to
his paper. After the war, with the Socialist Party closed
to him and Communism threatening disruption, he
founded (1919) the first Fascio di Combattimento,
nominally to serve the cause of the neglected exservicemen. This proved the starting point of
‘Fascism’. Mussolini took over the nationalist theme
and the theatrical equipment (black shirts, banners
etc.) from *d’Annunzio and was quick to realise
that by turning his gangs against the communists
he would win government toleration and much
outside support. In 1921 Mussolini, already called
Il Duce (‘the leader’) by his followers, was elected to
the Chamber of Deputies and in October 1922 he
organised the celebrated ‘march on Rome’. (Most
Fascisti arrived by train.) There was no resistance, for
Mussolini had already come to a tacit understanding
with the prime minister, Facta. The armed forces,