Carl Seelig

Carl Seelig

Carl Seelig (1894—1962) was a Swiss editor and writer and Robert Walser’s friend, guardian, and literary executor. He was a selfless supporter of countless other writers, and was also Albert Einstein’s first biographer.

Walks With Walser

Fiction by Carl Seelig

Translated by Anne Posten

After a nervous breakdown in 1929, Robert Walser spent the remaining twenty-seven years of his life in mental asylums. In 1936, Carl Seelig — an admirer who became Walser’s friend and eventually his literary executor—began accompanying the great Swiss writer on his daily walks. As they strolled, Walser told stories, shared his daily experiences of the sanatorium, and expressed his opinions about books and art, writing and history. Filled with lively anecdotes and details, Walks With Walser offers the fullest available account of this wonderful writer’s inner and outer life.…
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[Carl Seelig’s] personal, firsthand account is the closest we will ever have to a Walser memoir. The questions he poses to Walser, regarding his personal and professional history and his literary and political opinions, seem like those of an oral historian, and Walser, trusting his companion, answers with presence of mind, inflecting the conversation with his characteristic humor and unusual observations.

—Sarah Cowan, Bookforum

To use a word much favoured by Walser himself, it’s delightful.

—Dorian Stuber, Numero Cinq

Walks with Walser is filled with Walser’s philosophy about leading a modest life, finding beauty in mundane things, and getting by with less.

—Moyra Davey

Seelig kindly visited Walser and started keeping a record of his opinions, creating over the course of time an indispensable document for all those who love Walser’s surprising prose, which, silent as snowfall, cries out from the nothingness. Walser—as can be observed in Seelig’s book—lectured on beer and twilight.

—Enrique Vila-Matas

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
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