Like many of his generation, Robert Musil wrote in the shadow of Nietzsche, and in the spaces between philosophy and literature. Nietzschean ideas about ethics, aesthetics, and selfhood can be found throughout his work. One idea, the dissolution of the subject, was treated not as an invitation to nihilism but as an opening toward a new conception both of the self and of ethics. As Musil explored it, ethics and aesthetics became one. Central to this merging is the idea of essayism, as a way of writing and of living.