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The Walk A New Directions Pearl

by Robert Walser

cover image for

Pearls series

The Walk is a good place to start reading Walser, and offers a kind of bridge between the novels and the microscripts.... The walk is a search for freedom, is an act of freedom itself, and the writing feels free to launch into invective, or drape itself in courtesy, as it pleases. It is an attempt to approximate writing to life, to subject it to circumstance and chance encounter, but for all its overt artificiality the story is deeply affecting. 

The Times Literary Supplement

Walser's alternate, preferred version of his most famous tale.


The Walk A New Directions Pearl

by Robert Walser

translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky and Christopher Middleton
with a contribution by Susan Bernofsky

A pseudo-biographical "stroll" through town and countryside rife with philosophic musings, The Walk has been hailed as the masterpiece of Walser’s short prose. Walking features heavily in his writing, but nowhere else is it as elegantly considered. Without walking, "I would be dead," Walser explains, "and my profession, which I love passionately, would be destroyed. Because it is on walks that the lore of nature and the lore of the country are revealed, charming and graceful, to the sense and eyes of the observant walker." The Walk was the first piece of Walser’s work to appear in English, and the only one translated before his death. However, Walser heavily revised his most famous novella, altering nearly every sentence, rendering the baroque tone of his tale into something more spare. An introduction by translator Susan Bernofsky explains the history of The Walk, and the difference between its two versions.

published June 5th, 2012
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