Walks with Walser

Author: Carl Seelig

Publisher: New Directions Publishing

ISBN: 0811221407

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 200

View: 691


A unique and personal portrait of the beloved, legendary Swiss writer, finally in English After a nervous breakdown in 1929, Robert Walser spent the remaining twenty-seven years of his life in mental asylums, closed off from the rest of the world in almost complete anonymity. While at the Herisau sanitarium, instead of writing, Walser practiced another favorite activity: walking. Starting in 1936, Carl Seelig, Walser’s friend and literary executor, visited and accompanied him on these walks, meticulously recording their conversations. As they strolled, Walser told stories, shared his daily experiences of the sanatorium, and expressed his opinions about books and art, writing and history. When Seelig asked why he no longer wrote, Walser famously replied: “I’m not here to write, I’m here to be mad.” Filled with lively anecdotes and details, Walks with Walser offers the fullest available account of this wonderful writer’s inner and outer life.

Clairvoyant of the Small

Author: Susan Bernofsky

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300258267

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 425

View: 3939


The first English-language biography of one of the great literary talents of the twentieth century, written by his award-winning translator “Bernofsky takes us into the heart of an artist’s life/work struggles, brilliantly illuminating Walser’s exquisite sensibility and uncompromising radical innovations, while deftly tracking how his life gradually came apart at the seams. A tragic and intimate portrait.”—Amy Sillman “Robert Walser is the perfect pathetic poet: pithy, awkward, drinks too much, sibling rivalrous, ambitious, broke, and mentally ill. Was he proto queer or trans, this red headed writer who next to Gertrude Stein might be the most influential writer of our moment? Riveting and heart-breaking, this biography kept me drunk for days.”—Eileen Myles The great Swiss-German modernist author Robert Walser lived eccentrically on the fringes of society, shocking his Berlin friends by enrolling in butler school and later developing an urban-nomad lifestyle in the Swiss capital, Bern, before checking himself into a psychiatric clinic. A connoisseur of power differentials, his pronounced interest in everything inconspicuous and modest—social outcasts and artists as well as the impoverished, marginalized, and forgotten—prompted W. G. Sebald to dub him “a clairvoyant of the small.” His revolutionary use of short prose forms won him the admiration of Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, Robert Musil, and many others. He was long believed an outsider by conviction, but Susan Bernofsky presents a more nuanced view in this immaculately researched and beautifully written biography. Setting Walser in the context of early twentieth century European history, she provides illuminating analysis of his extraordinary life and work, bearing witness to his "extreme artistic delight."

On Belonging and Not Belonging

Author: Mary Jacobus

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691212384

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 240

View: 7150


A look at how ideas of translation, migration, and displacement are embedded in the works of prominent artists, from Ovid to Tacita Dean On Belonging and Not Belonging provides a sophisticated exploration of how themes of translation, migration, and displacement shape an astonishing range of artistic works. From the possibilities and limitations of translation addressed by Jhumpa Lahiri and David Malouf to the effects of shifting borders in the writings of Eugenio Montale, W. G. Sebald, Colm Tóibín, and many others, esteemed literary critic Mary Jacobus looks at the ways novelists, poets, photographers, and filmmakers revise narratives of language, identity, and exile. Jacobus’s attentive readings of texts and images seek to answer the question: What does it mean to identify as—or with—an outsider? Walls and border-crossings, nomadic wanderings and Alpine walking, the urge to travel and the yearning for home—Jacobus braids together such threads in disparate times and geographies. She plumbs the experiences of Ovid in exile, Frankenstein’s outcast Being, Elizabeth Bishop in Nova Scotia and Brazil, Walter Benjamin’s Berlin childhood, and Sophocles’s Antigone in the wilderness. Throughout, Jacobus trains her eye on issues of transformation and translocation; the traumas of partings, journeys, and returns; and confrontations with memory and the past. Focusing on human conditions both modern and timeless, On Belonging and Not Belonging offers a unique consideration of inclusion and exclusion in our world.

Index Cards: Selected Essays

Author: Moyra Davey

Publisher: New Directions Publishing

ISBN: 0811229521

Category: Literary Collections

Page: 192

View: 1572


An essential selection of Moyra Davey’s sly, surprising, and brilliant essays In these essays, the acclaimed artist, photographer, writer, and filmmaker Moyra Davey often begins with a daily encounter—with a photograph, a memory, or a passage from a book—and links that subject to others, drawing fascinating and unlikely connections, until you can almost feel the texture of her thinking. While thinking and writing, she weaves together disparate writers and artists—Mary Wollstonecraft, Jean Genet, Virginia Woolf, Janet Malcolm, Chantal Akerman, and Roland Barthes, among many others—in a way that is both elliptical and direct, clearheaded and personal, prismatic and self-examining, layering narratives to reveal the thorny but nourishing relationship between art and life.

In Praise of Literature

Author: Zygmunt Bauman,Riccardo Mazzeo

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1509502726

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 180

View: 9610


In this new book Zygmunt Bauman and Riccardo Mazzeo examine the contentious issue of the relation between literature (and the arts in general) and sociology (or, more generally, a branch of the humanities claiming scientific status). While many commentators see literature and sociology as radically different vocations, Bauman and Mazzeo argue that they are bound together by a common purpose and a shared subject matter. Despite the many differences in terms of their methods and their ways of presenting their findings, novels and sociological texts are not at cross-purposes. Indeed, it is precisely their differences that make them at once indispensable to each other and mutually complementary. The writers of novels and of sociological texts may explore their world from different perspectives, seeking and producing different types of ‘data’, but their products bear the unmistakable marks of their shared origin. They feed each other and depend on each other in terms of their agenda, their discoveries and the contents of their messages. In a world characterized by the continuous search for new sensations and the fetishism of consumption, they bring fundamental existential questions back to the public agenda. Literature and sociology reveal the truth of the human condition only when they stay in one another's company, remaining attentive to each other's findings and engaged in a continuous dialogue. For only together can they rise to the challenging task of untangling and laying bare the complex intertwining of biography and history as well as of individual and society that totality we are constantly shaping while being shaped by it.

The Art of Wandering

Author: Merlin Coverley

Publisher: Oldcastle Books

ISBN: 1842436406

Category: Philosophy

Page: 184

View: 8622


The Art of Wandering is a history of that curious hybrid, the writer as walker. From the Ancient world to the modern day, the role of the walker continues to evolve, from philosopher and pilgrim, vagrant and visionary, to experimentalist and radical. From Rousseau and De Quincey to Virginia Woolf and Werner Herzog, this seemingly innocuous activity has inspired a literary tradition encompassing philosophy and poetry, the novel and the manifesto. Today, this figure has returned to the forefront of the public imagination, as writers and walkers follow in the footsteps of earlier generations. For the walker is once again on the march, seeking out new territory and recording new impressions of the landscape. Newly revised and updated, The Art of Wandering explores these adventures on foot. Every walk can be expressed as a story narrated by the walker; it is these stories and the lives of those who walked them which are examined here.

Ways of Curating

Author: Hans Ulrich Obrist

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 0718194217

Category: Art

Page: 192

View: 4134


Drawing on his own experiences and inspirations - from staging his first exhibition in his tiny Zurich kitchen in 1986 to encounters and conversations with artists, exhibition makers and thinkers alive and dead - Hans Ulrich Obrist's Ways of Curating looks to inspire all those engaged in the creation of culture. Moving from meetings with the artists who have inspired him (including Gerhard Richter and Gilbert and George) to the creation of the first public museums in the 18th century, recounting the practice of inspirational figures such as Diaghilev and Walter Hopps, skipping between exhibitions (his own and others), continents and centuries, Ways of Curating argues that curation is far from a static practice. Driven by curiosity, at its best it allows us to create the future.

An Artificial Wilderness

Author: Sven Birkerts

Publisher: David R Godine Pub

ISBN: N.A

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 430

View: 3750


Discusses Max Frisch, Heinrich Boll, Osip Mandelstam, Joseph Brodsky, Blaise Cendrars, Primo Levi, Umberto Eco, Malcolm Lowry, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortazar, and Cyril Connolly

The Walk

Author: Robert Walser

Publisher: Profile Books

ISBN: 184765505X

Category: Fiction

Page: 197

View: 1960


Ranging from one-page fantasies to novella-length studies of everyday existence, The Walk reveals the irresistible genius of one of the twentieth century's greatest writers. Under-appreciated even in his own lifetime, Robert Walser has nonetheless been recognised by such writers as W.G. Sebald, Susan Sontag, Franz Kafka, Herman Hesse and J.M. Coetzee. Like Kafka and Sebald, Walser wrote about the solitude and unease of human existence. Honest, wry and idiosyncratic, his stories are snapshots of the lives great artists, poor young men, beautiful women and talking animals alike. Ranging from the realist to the allegorical, the short fiction collected in this volume demonstrates Walser's uncanny ability to capture both life's strangeness and its small joys.

Ceaseless Music

Author: Steven Matthews

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1474232817

Category: Poetry

Page: 249

View: 6066


Through a series of poetic responses and critical reflections, Ceaseless Music explores the afterlives of Wordsworth's landmark autobiographical poem The Prelude in literature, philosophy and life writing, together with the insights it can offer into the writing of poetry today. Beginning with an exploration of the poem's genesis, from draft versions found in Wordsworth's notebooks onwards, the book goes on to sound out The Prelude's radical versions of selfhood through its attention to the 'musics' of place and of experience. The scope of the book ranges from biographical writings, to American literature and philosophy, neuroscience, musicology, and British and American poetries. The reader will discover new creative work in various modes, together with many re-echoings of Wordworth's text in later writers, across history, and from across the globe.