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How to place the mysterious Swiss writer Robert Walser a humble genius who possessed one of the most elusive and surprising sensibilities in modern literature Walser is many things a Paul Klee in words maker of droll whimsical tender and heartbreaking verbal artifacts; an inspiration to such very different writers as Kafka and WG Sebald; an amalgam as Susan Sontag suggests in her preface to this volume of Stevie Smith and Samuel BeckettThis collection gather. Warning This is a pretty long review; of a labour of love than a love of long windedness The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes Marcel ProustIf I were asked which writer in 2015 should get the maximum attention among serious classic readers I would name ROBERT WALSER So let me declare at least to myself 2015 as the year of Reading Robert Walser It was couple of months ago during my bath room reading of Elias Canetti’s amazing book “The Human Province” Well this is that has solidly stayed with me for 20 years and one which I constantly return to that I read a short reference to Robert Walser I would like to reproduce a part of it below Robert Walser’s special characteristic as a writer is that he never formulates his motives He is the most camouflaged of all writers He is always well off he is always delighted by everything But his enthusiasm is cold since it leaves out one part of himself and that is why it is sinister For him everything is external nature and the essential thing about it its innermost being fear was something he denied all his lifeHis writings are an unflagging attempt at hushing his fear He escapes everywhere before too much fear gathers in him his wandering life and to save himself he often changes into something subservient and small His deep and instinctive distaste for everything “lofty” for everything that has rank and privilege makes him an essential writer of our time which is choking on power One hesitates calling him a “great” writer according to normal usage nothing is so repugnant to him as “greatness” It is only the brilliance of greatness to which he submits and not its demand His pleasure is to contemplate the brilliance without taking part in it One cannot read him without being ashamed of everything that was important to one in external life and thus he is a particular saint not one according to outmoded and deflated prescriptions Imagine the shame a serious reader has when he discovers Kafka for the first time at the age of 50 and that is what I felt when I read Robert Walser How come none of my trusted literary friends ever spoke to me about him Are they also eually ignorant about this writer as I am I am now in a feverish state of mind to devour everything he has written to make up for the lost time I started with “Berlin Stories” and then immediately moved to this collection which I believe is the best introductory book for anyone who wants to have a flavor of this truly great and original writer Robert Walser 1878–1956 was born into a German speaking family in Biel Switzerland He left school at fourteen and led a wandering precarious existence while writing his poems novels and vast numbers of the “prose pieces” that became his hallmark In 1933 he was confined to a sanatorium falsely diagnosed as schizophrenic and he lived there for the rest of the 23 years till his death on a snow track while out on one of his usual long walks on Christmas Day in 1956 During his stay in the sanatorium Robert Walser continued to write many of his manuscripts in a highly enigmatic shrunken down form written with tiny ant like pencil markings a millimeter high came to light only after the author’s death The microscripts were in time discovered to be a radically miniaturized form of antiue German script a whole story was deciphered on the back of a business card Christopher Middleton and Susan Bernofsky two ardent proponents of Walser painstakingly translated most of his stories including the microscripts during this decade This selection of stories fluidly translated by the poet Christopher Middleton carries an elegant introduction by Susan Sontag Perhaps the following statement of Sontag marks the right place for Walser in the literary history Anyone seeking to bring Walser to a public that has yet to discover him has at hand a whole arsenal of glorious comparisons A Paul Klee in prose—as delicate as sly as haunted A cross between Stevie Smith and Beckett a good hud sweet Beckett And as literature’s present inevitably remakes its past so we cannot help but see Walser as the missing link between Kleist and Kafka who admired him greatlyMost of the stories in the story fall half way between essay and fantasy Instead of using plot Walser links events transforming everything and anything into an art best described as a kind of ‘tamed surrealism’ Dreamlike juxtapositions and humorous asides abound to suggest the discontinuity of both the character’s and the author’s personality and the world Right after the preface by Susan Sontag there is a uote by Walser about what kind of writer he is I am a kind of artisan novelist A writer of novellas I certainly am not If I am well disposed that’s to say feeling good I tailor cobble weld plane knock hammer or nail together lines the content of which people understand at once If you liked you could call me a writer who goes to work with a lathe My writing is wallpapering One or two kindly people venture to think of me as a poet which indulgence and manners allow me to concede My prose pieces are to my mind nothing nor less than parts of a long plotless realistic story For me the sketches I produce now and then are shortish or longish chapters of a novel The novel I am constantly writing is always the same one and it might be described as a variously sliced up or torn apart book of myself Robert Walser What attracts the reader to even the smallest pieces in this collection is that you find a gleam of truth in many sentences that is borne out of a torrid exposure and observation of life Like a sponge he absorbs and reproduces the uirky behavior of his fellow beings with utmost candor and clarity Never does he attempt to grumble or taint his observations with abstruse philosophical meanderings and irony is rarely encountered The erratic oddity of his comic and anecdotal yet deeply disuieting prose is felt from the beginning The book opens with an interesting expressionistic piece titled “Response to a Reuest” It is a monologue by a pantomime actor which starts out mild and closes on a mad scream Walser worked as a bank clerk a butler in a castle and an inventor's assistant before discovering what William H Gass calls his true profession His frustration with clerkly existence is evident in the dead

Free read Prosastücke

ProsastückeS forty two of Walser's stories Encompassing everything from journal entries notes on literature and biographical sketches to anecdotes fables and visions it is an ideal introduction to this fascinating writer of whom Hermann Hesse famously declared If he had a hundred thousand readers the world would be a better placeResponse to a ReuestFlower DaysTrousersTwo Strange StoriesBalloon JourneyKleist in ThumThe Job ApplicationThe BoatA Little RambleHelbling's St. He has in writing explicitly invited us along with him He acknowledges that as a writer he is afraid of the reader and often apologizes to us throughout this fine collection of stories notes fragments It is an interesting relationship between Walser and his reader As a reader have we also become an Other to him which signifies the possibility of criticism humiliation as when writing in his room he has become an Other to himself When he leaves his writing room if in this book he ever has he takes the liberty to take an ironic critical stance with others the bookkeeper banker a gigantic unhappy man passing him on a country road But generally the opening onto and opening himself to the country road is an extraordinary liberation in many of these pieces of Walser freeing himself from himself So floridly sensually done he even explains how to be there to dedicate ourselves to this beloved scenery nature to surrender ourselves so we too can partake in his overflowing joy in his imagination on the country road or at the train station looking out on the verdant valley with its inviting small cottages Walser is no simple pedestrian here He is the explorer and at times the conuerer of the soul and its disparate parts coming together as one where there is no OtherIn this collection Others abound Sifting about him they act as both a source of desire and a source of fearThese conflictual feelings paralyze him kindling his desolate loneliness and copious forms of isolation and depression What is someone to do especially during these years This paralysis is not a passing abstract concept Walser indeed cannot make a decision take a step forward A shuffle in place is the most he hopes for The early stories speak of little hope Thun is a story in itself worth reading the entire book its ending as sad as anything I've read along with The Walk In order to live with such a sadness we find Walser speaking his stories cataloging his life with words of whimsy a mirth which does not seem out of place or stylized but comes from a capricious stance in a life constructed for survival It is respected as such At the same time its slight slice of irony makes it entertaining touches our own need to laugh at our foibles even horrors to shape them diminutive and thus within the possibility of being able to be handled Walser opens his individual soul yet clearly spreads it across the universalI would have given this book a full fledged 5 star rating but too many notes and fragments were included weighing the book down for me in the middle So a 45 This is the only collection of Walser's shorter works many only one or two pages long that I have read Middleton has not only translated but made his selections and placed them in a chronological order shaping the work I have no way of comparing this to other collections and translator's It seems that the stories in the second half show a facile optimistic Walser who though still with problems has accepted his conflicts obsessions and thus is somewhat at peace with himselfIt is fitting the book ends with Walser's notes on Cezanne A piece where the artist's life and ways of obsession are clearly scored Walser seems to be coming to terms with his own artistry and accomplishments Is he as proud as what he has done with his mind as Cezanne deserves to be with his hands This same year he admitted himself into the sanitarium If nothing else this ended his incessant battle between the desire to participate in life vs the lack of desire or inability to be part of something he saw as the thin veneer of what was real Unfortunately four years later declared as officially insane he was shipped off to a psychiatric institution Perhaps he said already everything he had to say in that deviously simple ironic flutter of words buoyed by whimsy an understanding of pain loneliness and cornered by emotional paralysis that the world can understand If not he and we missed out on much455

Robert Walser Ä 0 Summary

Download ½ Prosastücke ¶ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ´ How to place the mysterious Swiss writer Robert Walser a humble genius who possessed one of the most elusive and surprising sensibilities in modern literature Walser is many things a Paul Klee in words maker of droll whimsical tender and heartbreaking verbal artifacts; an OryThe Little BerlinerNervousThe WalkSo I've Got YouNothing at AllKienastPoestsFrau WilkeThe StreetSnowdropsWinterThe She OwlKnockingTitusVladimirParisian NewspapersThe MonkeyDostoevsky's IdiotAm I DreamingThe Little TreeStork and PorcupineA Contribution to the Celebration of Conrad Ferdinand MeyerA Sort of SpeechA Letter to Therese BreitbachA Village TaleThe AviatorThe PimpMasters and WorkersEssay on FreedomA Biedermeier StoryThe HoneymoonThoughts on Cezann. Sometimes when I finish a book there’s a feeling in my mind of pure nullity where I couldn’t say a single thing about the text even if I wanted to It’s not often however that this feeling extends for weeks or even months I suspect that some people who read Robert Walser will go the rest of their lives not sparing a single synapse about him after they finish let alone a word or a sentence I myself was going to relegate my opinion or lack thereof to this near universal silence at least maybe until I read Jakob von Gunten when inexplicably today the rest of this review sprang nearly fully formed into my head at onceThere’s something about his prose pieces that slip right between the cracks of the brain or lend themselves to the feeling of hanging on the precipice with one hand over the abyss of pure incomprehension like reading every story is a struggle between your conscious mind and the demon of negation and nonexistence Whatever ideas can be extracted from his stories I sincerely say our young art of literary criticism has not yet the tools for merely blind thrusts in the dark It’s not morals emotions or even philosophical crumbs that should be extracted from his stories with this highly specialized yet nonexistent literary scalpel that is not to be used for something as imprecise and brutal like surgery but for the extraction of an art without beginning or end that exists and dies wholly in a void but is intermittently rescued by select members of posterity who themselves have not the foggiest the nature of what they have rescued or its worth other than its being uniue Even what Walser himself says about his works that they are like a part of a larger story which is himself is no than itself a piece of inventive prose and completely unverifiable Here the parallel to Kafka is the greatest where he makes these innocuous comments about his own stories that can throw the futile act of interpreting them off the track for years if however there were any interpreters of Walser like there were of Kafka Highly recommended for strollers connoisseurs of the small and fans of Walter Benjamin with no guarantees of a single coherent thought after you finish naturally but maybe an increased sense of appreciation for the strange and unknown or the awareness that the literature farthest from our regular sensibilities are by their essence the only ones that can communicate to us thoughts that would not normally occur on our relaxed plane of easy comprehension