A Schoolboy's Diary
  • PublisherNYRB Classics
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Publication Date2013/10/10
  • Size12.8 x 20.2 x 1.4 cm
  • Page208Page
  • BindingPaperback
  • Weight(kg)0.31kg
  • ISBN9781590176726
Regular PriceHK$150

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A Schoolboy's Diary

Book Information
"A Schoolboy's Diary" brings together more than seventy of Robert Walser's strange and wonderful stories, most never before available in English. Opening with a sequence from Walser's first book, "Fritz Kocher's Essays," the complete classroom assignments of a fictional boy who has met a tragically early death, this selection ranges from sketches of uncomprehending editors, overly passionate readers, and dreamy artists to tales of devilish adultery, sexual encounters on a train, and Walser's service in World War I. Throughout, Walser's careening, confounding, delicious voice holds the reader transfixed.
Author Description

Robert Walser (15 April 1878 – 25 December 1956) was a German-speaking Swiss writer. Walser is understood to be the missing link between Kleist and Kafka. ""Indeed,"" writes Susan Sontag, ""At the time [of Walser’s writing], it was more likely to be Kafka [who was understood by posterity] through the prism of Walser. Robert Musil, another admirer among Walser’s contemporaries, when he first read Kafka pronounced [Kafka’s work] as, 'a peculiar case of the Walser type.'"" Walser was admired early on by artists such as Robert Musil, Hermann Hesse, Stefan Zweig, Walter Benjamin and Franz Kafka, and was in fact better known in his lifetime than Franz Kafka or Walter Benjamin, for example. Nevertheless, Walser was never able to support himself based on the meager income he made from his writings, and he worked as a copyist, an inventor's assistant, a butler and in various other low-paying trades. Despite marginal early success in his literary career, the popularity of his work gradually diminished over the second and third decades of the 20th century, making it increasingly difficult for him to support himself through writing. He eventually suffered a nervous breakdown, and spent the remainder of his life in sanatoriums, taking frequent long walks. A revival of interest in his works arose when, in the late-twentieth century and the early 2000s, his work from the Pencil Zone, also known as Bleistiftgebiet or ""the Microscripts""—works he had written in a microscopically tiny hand, in a coded alphabet while in the sanatorium—were finally deciphered, translated and published.