A Little Ramble: In the Spirit of Robert Walser
New Directions Publishing Corporation
April 25, 2013
6.9 X 0.9 X 9.1 inches | 1.35 pounds
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About the Author
Born 1878 in Switzerland, Robert Walser was at various times in his life a bank teller, office clerk, scribe, house servant, machinist's assistant, and archivist. Although he wrote four novels and some poetry, his production consisted mainly of hundreds of small prose pieces. Being small was a key concern. His writing got smaller and smaller until, before he ceased writing altogether, he wrote a tiny script with letters about one millimeter high. By this time he had committed himself to a sanitarium where he remained for 27 years, mostly not writing. Always an avid taker of walks, Walser died in a snowdrift while out for a walk in 1956.
Susan Sontag was the author of four novels, including In America, which won the 2000 National Book Award for Fiction; a collection of stories; several plays; and seven works of nonfiction. She died in New York City on December 28, 2004.
Tom Whalen is a novelist, short story writer, poet, and critic who has written for AGNI, Bookforum, Film Quarterly, The Iowa Review, The Quarterly, the Washington Post and other publications. Co-editor of the Robert Walser Number of The Review of Contemporary Fiction, he has translated and written extensively on Walser's work. He teaches film at the State Academy of Art and Design in Stuttgart, Germany, and American Studies at the universities of Freiburg and Bamberg.
For New Directions, Susan Bernofsky has translated Yoko Tawada's Where Europe Begins, The Naked Eye, and Memoirs of a Polar Bear (winner of the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation), eight titles by the great Swiss-German modernist Robert Walser, and five books by Jenny Erpenbeck, including The End of Days (winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize). She is the author of Clairvoyant of the Small: The Life of Robert Walser, and teaches at Columbia University, where she also directs the literary translation program.
Texts like these demonstrate not only Walser's effect on the literary and aesthetic work in world literature half a century after his death but also his status as a niche author, a seeming prerequisite for any 'writer's writer'... 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.