Susan Bernofsky and Kate Zambreno

Jun, 03 2021

Susan Bernofsky and Kate Zambreno

The Center for the Art of Translation presents renowned translator Susan Bernofsky in this celebration of her long-awaited biography of the modernist writer Robert Walser, Clairvoyant of the Small (Yale UP). Susan will be joined in conversation by Kate Zambreno.

Register here.

About Clairvoyant of the Small: The Life of Robert Walser

The great Swiss-German modernist author Robert Walser lived eccentrically on the fringes of society, shocking his Berlin friends by enrolling in butler school and later developing an urban-nomad lifestyle in the Swiss capital, Bern, before checking himself into a psychiatric clinic. A connoisseur of power differentials, his pronounced interest in everything inconspicuous and modest—social outcasts and artists as well as the impoverished, marginalized, and forgotten—prompted W. G. Sebald to dub him “a clairvoyant of the small.” His revolutionary use of short prose forms had an enormous influence on Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, Robert Musil, and many others.

He was long believed an outsider by conviction, but Susan Bernofsky presents a more nuanced view in this immaculately researched and beautifully written biography. Setting Walser in the context of early twentieth century European history, she provides illuminating analysis of his extraordinary life and work, bearing witness to his “extreme artistic delight.”

About Susan Bernofsky and Kate Zambreno

Susan Bernofsky is associate professor of writing at Columbia University School of the Arts and director of the literary translation program at Columbia’s MFA Writing Program. She has translated over twenty books.

Kate Zambreno is the author of several acclaimed books including Screen Tests, Heroines, and Green Girl. Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. She teaches in the graduate nonfiction program at Columbia University and is the Strachan Donnelley Chair in Environmental Writing at Sarah Lawrence College.