I wanted to be first one to raise my hand and announce my musical bent. But I heard only fleeting sound. Was I hearing it wrong? Walser consider telling just how am I supposed to position myself, calm my hyperactive mind, tame my fickle heart and focus? To aim for that one point where music was spurting out in fountains? But he remained in the background, saying not another word. Short-Break: I jumped out of my seat and set on a short stroll across the school corridor. When I reached the next turn, I ran into our bulky notice board. A new notice was up: Mr.
Robert Walser invites application from students to undertake a day tour on Friday, the 15th.
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Interested students may collect the form from office and drop them into the box placed near Hall R. What is the day trip about? Not a word on that? For taking this session too! I sprung my hand minutes after he entered and asked him about the day trip. You refreshed my vision by pointing me to a world vivid with activities and perhaps, learnings. You were not the other teachers I am used to and I was excited at the prospect of being taught in a foreign albeit promising tongue. But you never prodded, never interrupted, never pushed tantalizing comments or arguments that might have set my mind into action.
I mean in this class, all of us read and all of us are taught. You, Sir, presented to me a picture which was gorgeous when you began revealing it but regretfully, turned routine by the time the whole was disclosed. I am afraid I might not be ready to go on any elaborate day trip that you might organize in near future.
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Remain, dear question, nice and unanswered, I beg of you. View all 31 comments. Shelves: arc-netgalley , non-fiction-ish , germany , releases , cherished , nyrb-classics , novellas-short-novels-short-stories , european-literature , switzerland. 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 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.
So what I'll do is convince you, dear uninitiated reader, to pick up this little gem, flip through its pages and discover for yourself the treasures embedded within without trying your patience by going into excruciating detail. And I'll let Walser speak on my behalf. The initial few short stories are written from the point of view of a school boy in the format of short essays on various topics ranging from school, poverty, careers to friendship, politeness, nature and so on.
It is astonishing to note that despite the glaringly trite nature of these subjects, Walser manages to bring something new to the stories by adding a distinct touch of his own. His tone fluctuates between mildly sardonic and wistful to complacent and observant but unassuming. Sample what he has to say about "School" - "School is the unavoidable choker around the neck of youth, and I confess that it is a valuable piece of jewelery indeed.
What a burden we would be to our parents, workers, passersby, shop owners, if we didn't have to go to school! A vengeance or revenge can collect in the heart of a nation due to self-regard that has been injured in various ways, and it grows and grows, without end, becomes more and more pressing, more and more painful rises up like a high mountain no longer to be cleared away, obstructs any mutual understanding, inhibits warm, healthy, reasonable reciprocal communication, turns into twitching nervous fury, and is so tyrannical and degrading that it can one day no longer be reined in and cries out wildly for bloody conflict.
This is vaguely autobiographical I believe. Anyone captivated and gripped by a book for a given time does not use that time to initiate gossip about his dear fellow man, which is always a great and crude mistake. That's another story we shall avoid getting into but we can say this much: the worst book in the world is not as bad as the complete indifference of never picking up a book at all.
A trashy book is not nearly as dangerous as people sometimes think, and the so-called really good books are under certain conditions by no means as free of danger as people generally like to believe. Intellectual things are never as harmless as eating chocolate or enjoying an apple tart or the like. In principle, the reader just has to know how to cleanly separate reading from life. But for as long as the novelty lasts, it is the most exquisite thing in the world.
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He is not overly pedantic yet his writing reflects his keen understanding of nearly every topic under the sun and exudes immense charm and clarity. Love of humanity and the sorrows thereof, a lust for life and the pain therefrom, rose exquisitely up like tall ghostly shapes in the pale, golden air of the summer evening. Softly the figures seemed to wave to him. View all 29 comments. 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.
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 Now I think I'm starting to understand the appeal and dizzying techniques of Robert Walser. Walser writes convincingly in the voice of a young smart schoolboy, but one who knows the role of obedience and authority, and subverts it. He writes a metaphor about colors and existence, then coyly asks the teacher if it's right.
There may be appearance of outward tranquility here, but there's something deeper which lies unanswered.
That's Walser. Not essential.
Not nearly. When autumn comes, the leaves fall from the trees to the ground.
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Actually I should have said: When the leaves fall, it is autumn. I need to improve my style. My last paper was marked: style wretched. Susan Bernofsky, Masquerade When Autumn comes, the leaves fall off of the trees onto the ground. Actually I should say it like this: When the leaves fall, Autumn is here. I have to work on improving my style. Last time the teacher wrote: Style, wretched.
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Does anyone out there like the second version better? You ask me, no way does Walser need to be more convoluted. It gets worse: This is likely to be my last prose piece. This is probably my last prose piece. There are all sorts of considerations that lead me to conclude that it is high time for a goatheard boy like myself to be done with the composing and submitting of prose pieces and abandon this clearly too difficult occupation.
I am happy to look around for another line of work that might it possible for me to eat my bread in peace. Surely Searls has accidentally left the remnants of two drafts in there at once! I gave up on this story. Get Masquerade. Or if you really wanna hear him twist his tongue in knots, get Speaking to the Rose or The Robber. A great deed cannot obliterate the laborious succession of days. Not self-mockery, not experimentalism, not packing the maximum possible about-turns into a sentence.
Just insight, humble regard for reality and love of the beauty in words. Rush on! View all 3 comments. Mar 16, M. 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 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. I can never quite figure out why Walser moves me the way he does as his writing is so simple and straight forward as to suggest a young child is speaking to me.
Not sure if I will ever find the time again to read this book, but it was one of the most worthwhile events of my study this year. The following three reading updates says it all for me: "Everyone under thirty years of age shall be required to read at least the beginning of this book. Nobody quite like Walser. View all 9 comments. 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. The young Fritz Kocher—young, innocent, rebellious, eager, sensitive, clever and outgoing—is the the typical Walser hero, seen in Jakob von Junten. And his 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.
It's always hard to tell how much we are meant to fall into the Walser mindset, and that is half the fun and no doubt why is so popular. All the essays are directed at the grading teacher, who is both learning what happens in his classroom from a different angle, witnessing an affront on his authority, and receiving a tribute from a talented and admiring friend. This relationship, I think, is meant to bring us to question the usual relationship that a reader has with both an author and protagonist.