Robert Walser

Looking at Pictures

by Robert Walser

Translated by Susan BernofskyLydia DavisChristopher Middleton

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Fairy Tales

Theater by Robert Walser

Translated by Daniele PantanoJames Reidel

With a contribution by Reto Sorg

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A Little Ramble

Fiction by Robert Walser

Translated by Susan BernofskyChristopher Middleton

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Microscripts

Fiction by Robert Walser

Translated by Susan Bernofsky

With a contribution by Walter Benjamin

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Thirty Poems

Poetry by Robert Walser

Translated by Christopher Middleton

With a contribution by Christopher Middleton

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The Walk

by Robert Walser

Translated by Susan BernofskyChristopher Middleton

With a contribution by Susan Bernofsky

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The Tanners

Fiction by Robert Walser

Translated by Susan Bernofsky

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The Assistant

Fiction by Robert Walser

Translated by Susan Bernofsky

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In this deft, clearly written translation, each walk is engagingly recounted–clouds, umbrella, kilometres covered, stops for beer, talk of literature and asylum life.

—Diana Darke, The Times Literary Supplement

This jeweled box of a book… float[s], wonderfully, somewhere in a land between short story and criticism.

—Randy Kennedy, The New York Times

There is living flight to Walser’s art. His thinking moves shoulder to shoulder with his writing, one rarely outpacing the other. He enacts, rather than presents, his consumption of pictures.

—Esther Yi, Los Angeles Review of Books

He was the most courageous kind of eccentric, daydreaming at some doomed remove from the world yet able to conjure it up in his work, where it attains a warm and puzzling glow.

—Charlie Fox, Frieze

Singular―genius.

—Ben Lerner

Bold and idiosyncratic.

—Lydia Davis

A Paul Klee in prose, a good-humoured, sweet Beckett, Walser is a truly wonderful, heartbreaking writer.

—Susan Sontag

Everyone who reads Walser falls in love with him.

—Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian

Walser achieved a remarkable tone, in which perfect assurance and perfect ambiguity combine.

—Benjamin Kunkel, The New Yorker

If he had a hundred thousand readers, the world would be a better place.

—Hermann Hesse

Walser’s fictions are charged with compassion: awareness of the creatureliness of life, of the fellowship of sadness. He is a truly wonderful, heartbreaking writer.

—Susan Sontag

One of the most profound creations and one that is enough on its own to explain why the most powerful of all writers was a favorite author of the merciless Franz Kafka.

—Walter Benjamin

One of the most profound creations and one that is enough on its own to explain why the most powerful of all writers was a favorite author of the merciless Franz Kafka.

—Walter Benjamin

The incredible shrinking writer is a major twentieth-century prose artist who, for all that the modern world seems to have passed him by, fulfills the modern criterion: he sounds like nobody else.

—Benjamin Kunkel, The New Yorker

A clairvoyant of the small.

—W.G. Sebald

Walser vaulted new heights of expression with miniscule means.

—The Boston Globe

Walser has in recent years regained some of the status he enjoyed in the 1920s. Instead of Kafka and Benjamin, we have Sebald and Lydia Davis championing him. But we still don’t know where we stand with him. Are we dealing with pure literature,the vagaries of the everyday, jokes, or empty fancies? The writing is radical and elegant enough to encompass all these possibilities and many more. Is it the stuff of life? Perhaps.

The Times Literary Supplement

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

The poems also give us Walser’s manner in concentrated miniature, and it could be that rhyme — joining the disparate, cultivating the arbitrary - is at the heart of what he is doing. They are odd, whimsical, insouciant things, exhilarating in their ability to be what they are.

The Times Literary Supplement

It is no wonder that Walser has been so influential to artists and writers whose work is similarly charged with social criticism, examinations of the individual in relation to the world, and the attempt to fathom artistic inspiration.

—K. Thomas Kahn, The Quarterly Conversation

Walser vaulted new heights of expression with miniscule means.

The Boston Globe

Walser has in recent years regained some of the status he enjoyed in the 1920s. Instead of Kafka and Benjamin, we have Sebald and Lydia Davis championing him. But we still don’t know where we stand with him. Are we dealing with pure literature,the vagaries of the everyday, jokes, or empty fancies? The writing is radical and elegant enough to encompass all these possibilities and many more. Is it the stuff of life? Perhaps.

The Times Literary Supplement

The hope that shines forth in the moments of self-knowledge, transcendence, and grace Walser describes is anything but meager: on the contrary, it is exultation the writer feels when he perceives the sublime in the tiniest details of everyday life.

The Brooklyn Rail

Walser’s project is mirrored and echoed by modernity’s general obsession with interiority and exploring new forms of subjectivity. We should understand Walser’s poetics of smallness as being as grandiose as anything that modernity has produced.

The Quarterly Conversation

The Walk remains the best starting point for experiencing Walser’s unique genius.

The Quarterly Conversation

The magnificently humble. The enormously small. The meaningfully ridiculous. Robert Walser’s work often reads like a dazzling answer to the question, How immense can modesty be?

—Rivka Galchen, Harper’s Magazine

A clairvoyant of the small.

—W.G. Sebald

The incredible shrinking writer is a major twentieth-century prose artist who, for all that the modern world seems to have passed him by, fulfills the modern criterion: he sounds like nobody else.

—Benjamin Kunkel, The New Yorker
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