“[These] painstakingly transcribed texts brought to light some of Walser’s most beautiful and haunting writing . . . . The incredible shrinking writer is a major 20th-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)
“One of the profoundest products of modern literature.” (Walter Benjamin, author of Illuminations: Essays and Reflections)
“Incredibly interesting and beautiful.” (John Ashbery, author of Planisphere: New Poems)
About the Author
Robert Walser (1878–1956) was born in Switzerland. He left school at fourteen and led a wandering and precarious existence working as a bank clerk, a butler in a castle, and an inventor's assistant while producing essays, stories, and novels. In 1933 he abandoned writing and entered a sanatorium—where he remained for the rest of his life. "I am not here to write," Walser said, "but to be mad."
Susan Bernofsky is the acclaimed translator of Hermann Hesse, Robert Walser, and Jenny Erpenbeck, and the recipient of many awards, including the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize and the Hermann Hesse Translation Prize. She teaches literary translation at Columbia University and lives in New York.
Walter Benjamin was a German-Jewish Marxist literary critic, essayist, translator, and philosopher. He was at times associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory and is the author of Illuminations, The Arcades Project, and The Origin of German Tragic Drama.