Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Robert Walser links

via Complete Review, links to essays about the life and work of Swiss-German writer Robert Walser in New Yorker and Village Voice. He has been on my list for long but haven't crossed his path yet. Musil reported called Kafka, "a peculiar case of the Walser type." Kafka himself admired him. There is also this old essay by J.M. Coetzee, The Genius of Robert Walser. (Hmmm. Yet another Genius. Coetzee's latest essay collection has a string of geniuses. Musil is a genius, Svevo is a genius (essay copied here), Walter Benjamin is a genius, Sebald is a genius. Roth, Bellow and Faulker are geniuses too, though perhaps on the second rung. Poor Sandor Marai ("minor fiction writer") and Joseph Roth("conservative not just in politics but also in literary technique") they get damned with faint praise. Though that shouldn't stop anyone. The Radetzky March and Embers both are excellent, extremely worthwhile books.)

I am taking a break from reading. I am already reading too much. I was looking at my library thing account. I have already read 30 books this year, that is not counting the non-fiction books I have skimmed over. And that also includes 1100 pages (still 600 short) of the emotionally and intellectually exhausting novel The Man Without Qualities.

3 comments:

Cheshire Cat said...

The problem with Walser is that he is nothing but genius.

Actually, that's not true - there are many problems with Walser. One is possessed by his spirit, gentle and sad...

tom said...

Walser's 'Jacob Von Gunten' is a wonderful little novel about a boy at "servant school". Many of his short stories are also very touching.

It occurs to me that something else you might enjoy reading, in a New York frame of mind, is "Call it Sleep", by Henry Roth.

Alok said...

thanks guys, i have already put jacob van gunten on my reading list.