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Walks with Walser

by Carl Seelig

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That Walser is not today among the forgotten writers we owe primarily to the fact that Carl Seelig took up his cause. Without Seelig's accounts of the walks he took with Walser, without his preliminary work on the biography, without the selections from the work he published and the lengths he went to in securing the Nachlass—the writer's millions of illegible ciphers—Walser's rehabilitation could never have taken place, and his memory would in all probability have faded into oblivion.

W.G. Sebald

A unique and personal portrait of the beloved, legendary Swiss writer, finally in English


Walks with Walser

Nonfiction by Carl Seelig

translated from the German by Anne Posten

After a nervous breakdown in 1929, Robert Walser spent the remaining twenty-seven years of his life in mental asylums, closed off from the rest of the world in almost complete anonymity. While at the Herisau sanitarium, instead of writing, Walser practiced another favorite activity: walking. Starting in 1936, Carl Seelig, Walser’s friend and literary executor, visited and accompanied him on these walks, meticulously recording their conversations. As they strolled, Walser told stories, shared his daily experiences of the sanatorium, and expressed his opinions about books and art, writing and history. When Seelig asked why he no longer wrote, Walser famously replied: “I’m not here to write, I’m here to be mad.” Filled with lively anecdotes and details, Walks with Walser offers the fullest available account of this wonderful writer’s inner and outer life.

published April 25th, 2017