Robert Walser Damion Searls Ben Lerner
- Title: A Schoolboy's Diary and Other Stories
- Author: Robert Walser Damion Searls Ben Lerner
- ISBN: 9781590176726
- Page: 354
- Format: Paperback
This new collection of than seventy stories by the iconic modern writer Robert Walser, includes stories that have appeared in Harper s Magazine, n 1 online, Vice, and elsewhere Also included is the complete Fritz Kocher s Essays, the collected works, so to speak, of a boy who died young, consisting entirely of classroom writing assignments on themes such as MusiThis new collection of than seventy stories by the iconic modern writer Robert Walser, includes stories that have appeared in Harper s Magazine, n 1 online, Vice, and elsewhere Also included is the complete Fritz Kocher s Essays, the collected works, so to speak, of a boy who died young, consisting entirely of classroom writing assignments on themes such as Music, Christmas, and The Fatherland As the opening title sequence of Walser s first book, this was a brilliant way to frame and introduce his unique voice, oscillating wildly as it does between na vet the ludicrous teacher wearing high boots, as though just returning from the Battle of Austerlitz , faux na vet , and faux faux na vet Factories and the areas around them do not look nice I don t understand how anyone can be around such unclean things All the poor people work in the factories, maybe to punish them for being so poor Fritz Kocher s Essays and Other Stories is centered around schoolboy life the subject of his greatest novel, Jakob von Gunten and dispatches from the edge of the writer s life, as Walser s modest, extravagant, careening narrators lash out at uncomprehending editors, overly solicitous publishers, and disdainers of Odol mouthwash There are vignettes that swoon over the innocent beauties of the Swiss landscape, but from sexual adventures on a train, to dissecting an adulterous love triangle by wading knee deep into what is generally called the Danish or psychological novel, to three stories about Walser s service in the Swiss military during World War I, the collection has an unexpected range of subject matter Because Walser s stories have been translated into English in the form of selected volumes, and because of his reputation as a quasi outsider artist, it has been all but impossible for English language readers to appreciate that he was a professional writer publishing ten books of stories during his active career By giving tables of contents for all ten books and indexing the stories appearances in the various English collections, the afterword provides a valuable resource for Walser s many English language readers.
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Reading Robert Walser can be a dizzying experience. The Swiss writer, who was born in 1878 in Bern and died on Christmas day, 1956 in Herisau, Switzerland, lived through a period of intense social, cultural, and political change, during which traditional ways of life in Europe began to give way to modernism, provincialism was increasingly at odds with the development of urban cultures, and respect for authority and obedience gained a sinister aspect. In a series of brilliant novels and short pro [...]
That is the most useful thing about school: It tires you out, upsets you, gets you going, it nourishes the imagination, it is the anteroom, the waiting room as it were, of life. Neat Poster. And a far neater mind who put this right at the entrance of this school. Alright then, let’s get in.Morning Session: A gentleman walked into the class and took the teacher’s chair. He introduced himself as Robert Walser. Not bad for a name. He was impeccably suited, with sober, black buttons wrapping his [...]
Faced with the prospect of reviewing a collection of short stories, which is probably my least favorite writing chore ever, I am choosing the easy way out. I am so taken with the tranquil, understated beauty of Walser's writing that I am most unwilling to disassemble his short stories into separate assessing criteria like style, essence, prose, theme, imagery and so on.So what I'll do is convince you, dear uninitiated reader, to pick up this little gem, flip through its pages and discover for yo [...]
Now I think I'm starting to understand the appeal and dizzying techniques of Robert Walser. He writes short stories about wandering children, soldiers enlisting and lovers running away but he does so in a beguiling way, where he hides the most complex feelings in simple expressions. Even a simple naïve denial of knowing can be interpreted in many ways.The longest collection of stories in the book, "A Schoolboy's Diary", is a chief example of his gifts. Walser writes convincingly in the voice of [...]
Not essential. Not nearly. Maybe moreso than Berlin Stories, but we’re on the tail-end of the Walser thing now, and this is no place to start. I wouldn’t have bought it (I’ve got seven Walser books already, three of them story – or ‘prose piece’ – collections, and by the time I got to the fifth – Speaking to the Rose – I was aware that my obsession had passed), but somehow I’d conceived a yearning for the complete Fritz Kocher’s Essays, Walser’s first published book, pres [...]
Each morning as a part of my meditation before getting on to a brisk walk with my dog and then attempting some sort of composition I read at least four pages of this fine little book. After having read already much of Robert Walser and preferring his novels to his short stories I found this book to be charming in a most surprising way. Perhaps it was this new translation, but the spirit behind the writing seemed to come through in ways I have never experienced before. I can never quite figure ou [...]
I was kind of over the whole Walser thing, sometimes it seems like every single written bone has been picked over with some of these writers, like Bolano. But instead I immediately fell comfortable back into Walser's unique charm. "Fritz Kocher's Diary," which starts off the collection and is a very early piece I think, is Walser at his best. The young Fritz Kocher—young, innocent, rebellious, eager, sensitive, clever and outgoing—is the the typical Walser hero, seen in Jakob von Junten. And [...]
To pretend that I am a sedate and demure fan of Robert Walser, in hopes of thereby seeming reasonable, would be misleading to the point of dishonesty. Robert Walser is my very favorite writer (indeed, a word like master or guide seems more appropriate) and I should admit up front that my opinions are those of a fanatic. Although Robert Walser remains under-appreciated, there is also a growing group of Walser devotees who seek out everything available. Some of these ardent fans seek, as I do, to [...]
I had been waiting for a work that would yield up the phrase mustache eventualities.
There is something so therapeutic and invigorating in Robert Walser's crisp and light as air prose. Walser has a lot to say about the little things around us, and the results are delightful, demonstrated in this lovely collection of essays depicting the seemingly endless road of life. Time seems to slow down as you immerse yourself in the mastery of his writing, and in the chaos of the mind, this book is an oasis that I'd drowned my soul into and found myself again. There is something more, sini [...]
Walser's recent resurrection is more bio-based than work-based. The latter without the former is charmingly unremarkable, but taken together, Walser's 'story' deserves retelling.
This is a truly wonderful book.It is rare for a reader to come upon a writer who can instill such joyous exuberance as Robert Walser and his wide-eyed and amiable narrators can. This collection of seventy or so short stories follows narrators as they wander through the world, taking in as much sensory stimulation as they can. Walser excels in his ability to breathe life into the image of a rural landscape with arresting metaphor and simile, and Damion Searls has done a remarkable job translating [...]
Reading this I was reminded of Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon, which imagined the routine complacency of early century Germany preparing the soil for the grotesque bumper crop of Nazism, sinister children reared by mediocre, crushingly normal adults. Here, in a set of story shards clustered around the traumatic chasm of WWI, Walser offers a more mature analysis, albeit one never intended to explicate how rule-abiding, comfort-loving people and their cozy village lives laid the groundwork fo [...]
For readers new to Robert Walser as well as those who consider him an old friend, this collection published by NYRB provides a delightful survey of his idiosyncratic short prose, which was the bread-and-butter of his working writer years. Spanning the length of Walser's published career, the selections reflect all the best aspects of his 'little prose pieces': the absurdity, humor, pathos, and poignancy.Overall, I found this collection more accessible than Speaking to the Rose and more consisten [...]
I couldn't get into his stories about the military, authority, and school, but Walser has a few gems I'm thankful I came across: his musings on nature, swimming, night, and day, "A Story" (one of my favorite little tales of love and expectation), and parts of "Hans" (love this paragraph below):“To tell you who and what I am and what I am doing is actually rather difficult. From the manner and fashion in which l have been swimming and dreaming away the morning here you can tell that at present [...]
Walser and I are never going to be best buddies, it seems to me. I really don't have much to say here except that I found this collection thoroughly underwhelming. In the introduction, Mr. Ben Lerner presents us with a few quotationts from such luminaries as W. G. Sebald and Susan Sontag, wanting to convey to us the strange nature of Walser's prose, its dreamlike quality. "Was I reading Walser just now?" his readers seem to ask. I can hardly remember. This is coated in language of virtue. Here's [...]
I'm developing a fondness for Walser. There's something special about the way he brings his writing so close to the edge of the traumatising and horrible while somehow staying in the realm of the calm and serene. I really liked a lot of the vignettes (although, have to admit I was less fond of others) and thought the Fritz Kocher Essays were particularly interesting. The thing about Walser is that he gives me the same feeling I get when I've been to Switzerland. It's not that he describes everyt [...]
Walser spares no words to record his infinite fascination with the world in its entirety, from the pastoral and idyllic to the banal and petty. The self-reflexivity of his prose churns back and forth, but is always directed outward, self-absorbed yet strangely void of narcissism. His selfishness is that of a child's - natural, empty of malice, hardly reproachable. But in all his meanderings, what resonates and what is most touching is a finely crafted sense of unstatedness, for as carefree and v [...]
A new collection of Walser's prose pieces, ably translated by Damion Searls, who successfully captures Walser's whimsical moods--from heights of ecstasy, to sudden, dismissive anger. Walser's prose is the verbal equivalent of Van Gogh: intense, emotionally-charged, experienced as if seeing the world for the first time. Searls edited the collection to focus on pieces dealing with schoolboy experiences and those of young men in the military, so there is a cohesion here that gives the book a unity [...]
When some one recommended this to me I was skeptical. But when I started reading as the each chapter started moving I realized the value of prose how it can really make one hook to the book.Various subjects are coveredI enjoyed mostly the following titles:Fritz Kocher's EssaysA Schoolboy's Diary School visitHat-chittiAscent by NightA StoryThe New NovelThe LetterThe Italian NovellaThe CoverThe Great TalentA Son and His MotherStudent and TeacherThe Tale of Four Happy FellowsSummer in the CountryRe [...]
Unlike anything else I have ever read, short stories that read a bit like if Kafka or Bruno Schulz were in a very good mood. These stories are sweet and optimistic and have no real villains, conflict, or climax to speak of. A delightful and singular vision, but I have to admit I did get a little bored by the end and long for more story to these stories.
A pesar de que Walser es un extraordinario y poético escritor, las narraciones de este libro son cortas, triviales e inconexas. No empiezas a leer una cuando ya se te olvidó de qué trataba la anterior. Es como ir viendo un paisaje que pasa por la ventana de un tren, te entretiene brevemente pero nada más.
for the completeist robert walser reader. very short stories and tableaux mostly about being young and an artist in the death throes of the Austria-hungarian empire and the disaster that was germany around 1915. from vantage point of 1920, these stories are sweet, fey, and a nostalgic cry for older, better times.
I've never been enamored with 'flash' fiction, but then I read this. Flash fiction from 1914-1920. His sentences are an education; beautifully constructed, leaving in their wake a tone that is exquisitely nuanced.
I had a tumultuous relationship with this book. It wasn't immediately arresting but ultimately rewarding, so I'm glad to have read it. Like other reviews I haven't entered in the last 2-3 years I definitely want to go back and remember what it made me think about.
"'Sit down, that's an F for you!' That's how it goes in German class. How will it go later in life? I wonder."
"I need a certain quantity and amount of dilapidation, deterioration, and squalor around me, otherwise it is painful to breathe." -from LETTER FROM A POET TO A GENTLEMAN
Smiling while I read this. Utterly charming, and sometimes devastating.
3 stars and this song for accompanying me on those very short office days
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