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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

The Bookaholics' Guide to Book Blogs: "Mark Thwaite ... has a maverick, independent mind"

Tuesday 05 December 2006

Robert Walser

Patrick Kurp (and Dave) bring my attention to Golden Rule Jones' work on Robert Walser (1878-1956), the Swiss-German writer who "led a life of obscurity but whose admirers included Kafka, Hesse, Musil and Walter Benjamin":

In memory of Robert Walser, who died 50 years ago on Christmas Day, Golden Rule Jones has undertaken a shamefully belated act of homage on behalf of the English-speaking world by translating from the German, with a friend, Carl Seelig’s Wanderungen mit Robert Walser. Walser spent more than 20 years of his life in mental hospitals. Seelig was an admirer and eventually the guardian of the great Swiss writer, and visited him once or twice a year from 1936 until Walser’s death. Seelig accompanied Walser on long walks in the mountains surrounding his sanitarium at Herisau. By 1936, Walser had stopped writing but Seelig worked to keep his friend’s work in print. Seelig’s book, published the year after Walser’s death, chronicles his visits, but so far as I can tell this intriguing and valuable sounding book has never been translated into English.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Reader Comments

Tuesday 05 December 2006

Dan Visel says...

There was a nice recent piece by Michael Hofmann on Walser in the London Review of Books - it's online here: but it's subscriber only. Ostensibly a review of the recent collection called Speaking to the Rose but a very nice general introduction.

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Memorial Tablet

Squire nagged and bullied till I went to fight,
(Under Lord Derby’s Scheme). I died in hell—
(They called it Passchendaele). My wound was slight,
And I was hobbling back; and then a shell
Burst slick upon the duck-boards: so I fell
Into the bottomless mud, and lost the light.

At sermon-time, while Squire is in his pew,
He gives my gilded name a thoughtful stare:
For, though low down upon the list, I’m there;
‘In proud and glorious memory’... that’s my due.
Two bleeding years I fought in France, for Squire:
I suffered anguish that he’s never guessed.
Once I came home on leave: and then went west...
What greater glory could a man desire?

-- Siegfried Sassoon
Collected Poems (Faber and Faber)

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The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or two

Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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The New Spirit of Capitalism The New Spirit of Capitalism
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