By Robert Walser, Susan Bernofsky
A brand new York overview Books OriginalIn 1905 the younger Swiss author Robert Walser arrived in Berlin to hitch his older brother Karl, already a major stage-set dressmaker, and instantly threw himself into the colourful social and cultural lifetime of the town. Berlin tales collects his alternately celebratory, droll, and satirical observations on each point of the bustling German capital, from its theaters, cabarets, painters’ galleries, and literary salons, to the metropolitan highway, markets, the Tiergarten, rapid-service eating places, and the electrical tram. initially showing in literary magazines in addition to the feuilleton sections of newspapers, the early tales are characterised via a joyous urgency and the generosity of an unconventional consultant. Later items take the shape of extra own reflections at the writing procedure, thoughts, and personality experiences. All are jam-packed with counter-intuitive photographs and vignettes of startling readability, showcasing a different expertise for whom no element was once trivial, at grips with a urban diving headlong into modernity.
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1] In any case, Walser soon returned to Berlin, where he worked odd jobs; lived in part with his brother, in part in a series of furnished rooms; and wrote a large number of short prose texts for publication in literary magazines as well as the feuilleton sections of newspapers, including the Berliner Tageblatt, the Vossische Zeitung, and the Frankfurter Zeitung. While we tend to call these texts “stories,” Walser himself described them as “prose pieces”; this hybrid of story and essay remained his genre of choice for most of his writing career.
Everyone is displaying the same appropriate, mild solemnity. Is not the sky doing the same with its expression that appears to be saying: “How marvelous I feel”? Now, like friendly specters, wind-like shadows flit through the trees and across the sunlit white paths, and going where? No one knows. You can scarcely see it, that’s how delicate it is. Painters draw our attention to such tidbits. At a certain gentle distance, red-wheeled hackney cabs are rolling through the mild green fabric, as though a red ribbon were gliding through a bit of delicate female hair.
This explains the brusque tone of voice one often hears. Generally speaking, there is much to be amused by in Berlin West; here you find the most delightfully, sweetly laughable lives you might dream of. Take for example the dame arriviste, a feminine force of nature, naïve as a small child. I personally esteem her greatly because she is both so voluptuous and so droll. ” She resembles a chamois, and there is much in her that is sweet and good. And here we have the worldly graybeard. Only a very few specimens of this caliber, well versed in savoir vivre, are still sauntering about.
Berlin Stories by Robert Walser, Susan Bernofsky