Microscripts

Microscripts By Robert Walser Susan Bernofsky Walter Benjamin, Microscripts Robert Walser wrote many of his manuscripts in a highly enigmatic shrunken down form These narrow strips of paper many of them written during his hospitalization in the Waldau sanatorium covered with
  • Title: Microscripts
  • Author: Robert Walser Susan Bernofsky Walter Benjamin
  • ISBN: 9780811218801
  • Page: 377
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Microscripts By Robert Walser Susan Bernofsky Walter Benjamin, Robert Walser wrote many of his manuscripts in a highly enigmatic, shrunken down form These narrow strips of paper many of them written during his hospitalization in the Waldau sanatorium covered with tiny ant like markings only a millimeter or two high, came to light only after the author s death in 1956 At first considered a secret code, the microscripts were eventuaRobert Walser wrote many of his manuscripts in a highly enigmatic, shrunken down form These narrow strips of paper many of them written during his hospitalization in the Waldau sanatorium covered with tiny ant like markings only a millimeter or two high, came to light only after the author s death in 1956 At first considered a secret code, the microscripts were eventually discovered to be a radically miniaturized form of a German script a whole story could fit on the back of a business card.Selected from the six volume German transcriptions from the original microscripts, these 25 short pieces are gathered in this gorgeously illustrated co publication with the Christine Burgin Gallery Each microscript is reproduced in full color in its original form the detached cover of a trashy crime novel, a disappointing letter, a receipt of payment Sometimes Walser used the pages of small tear off calendars but only after cutting them lengthwise and filling up each half with text Schnapps, rotten husbands, small town life, the radio, pigs and how none of us can deny being one , jealousy, Van Gogh and marriage proposals are some of Walser s subjects These texts take strength from Walser s motto To be small and to stay small.
    Microscripts By Robert Walser Susan Bernofsky Walter Benjamin,
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    About "Robert Walser Susan Bernofsky Walter Benjamin"

    1. Robert Walser Susan Bernofsky Walter Benjamin

      Robert Walser, a German Swiss prose writer and novelist, enjoyed high repute among a select group of authors and critics in Berlin early in his career, only to become nearly forgotten by the time he committed himself to the Waldau mental clinic in Bern in January 1929 Since his death in 1956, however, Walser has been recognized as German Switzerland s leading author of the first half of the twentieth century, perhaps Switzerland s single significant modernist In his homeland he has served as an emboldening exemplar and a national classic during the unparalleled expansion of German Swiss literature of the last two generations.Walser s writing is characterized by its linguistic sophistication and animation His work exhibits several sets of tensions or contrasts between a classic modernist devotion to art and a ceaseless questioning of the moral legitimacy and practical utility of art between a spirited exuberance in style and texture and recurrent reflective melancholy between the disparate claims of nature and culture and between democratic respect for divergence in individuals and elitist reaction to the values of the mass culture and standardization of the industrial age.

    196 thoughts on “Microscripts”

    1. The Walser of the microscripts is my favorite Walser It s not that I like them because they were written in microscript, but rather because by the time he was writing his microscripts he had given up the novel writing business, which adds an aura of defeat to his writing By the time Walser wrote his microscripts he was a confirmed loser , and so was free to fully embrace being a loser and a non entity While this adds even further touches of freedom to his expression, it also adds a depth and a s [...]


    2. Physically this book is gorgeous and it smells really good, too I borrowed it from work, and I m thinking I might try to buy it if New Directions has a really good deal for it at the Brooklyn Book Festival next month As much as I find myself swooning over the physicality of the book as an object I m not nearly as in love with the content of the book This is probably because I m not an admirer or fan of Walser In theory I like him, he was nutso in an interesting way, and I think given time I woul [...]



    3. Assuming I do not lie, she wept with joy, although quite possibly she did so for some other reason Assuming I do not lie is the best clause to start off any sentence Obviously, this work has hip appeal and almost Herzog like marketability with its back story In case you haven t heard it yet Walser spent many of his waning years writing in a kind of tiny hieroglyphic code that only he understood on the back of slips, envelopes, napkins, strips of paper, and whatnot It took them 35 years to decode [...]


    4. This book, the physical entity, is extremely beautiful Overall, I d say the back story is interesting than the actual stories Walser wrote these little things in tiny script on tiny scraps of paper, to make them less available to his waxing neuroses and self criticism, which is a good idea In the micro bio at the end, there s a good description of RW s writing each sentence wants to make you forget the last one Humble, restrained, peaceful, not wanting anything much to happen, hardly stories, y [...]


    5. I m sure it s been said before probably in a blurb but these are tiny genius jewels that glitter like the spittle of gods.


    6. My favorite book read in 2015 for some reason as I was perusing I realized I didn t enter it e most generous, lovely, surprising, gentle and beautiful book of my year Walser is a beautiful writer who also puts across his yearning, his melancholy and his warmth in every sentence.his books take longer to read because you constantly put the book down to say, Holy fuck d across the century and what a balm O man Also a lovely book all around, as object, etc


    7. A short book a collection of short pieces, that is but what a wealth of delightful language, insight and humor Remarkable and sui generis Includes Maira Kalman s lovely brief biography , an essay by Walter Benjamin full of great pointers, and intro material, along with life size photos of the pieces of paper these tiny works were written on.


    8. Ehese texts are small They are short You get a Walter Banjamin essay What else needs to be said, well Benjamin finds Walser s lack of style very important, perhaps my lack of interest is equally important.



    9. it was through that i originally discovered robert walser i haven t found any of his NYR books anywhere, but i found the New Directions edition of Microscripts in a bookstore in seattle and i felt compelled to buy it a little perplexing at times, the concept itself is fascinating, and the final line of the last piece of the book is gonna stick with me for a long, long time New Year s Don t the words almost smell a bit like wistfulness When a year stops, another instantly commences, as if one wer [...]


    10. This is at once one of the shortest and most difficult books I ve ever read Robert Walser writes in sentences that feel uneneding At the end of each you ve forggoten the beginning yet the desperation to convey some meaning sticks with you through out each mercifully short essay These effects are only augmented by the fact that Walser s writing style is very circular and poetic It s madness yet there s a method to the madness No wonder he was Kafka s favorite author.


    11. Truly a unique, one of a kind book Written in an almost indecipherable, microscopic script while Walser was an inmate in a various asylums, diagnosed as a catatonic schizophrenic Most thought they were the scribblings of a madman, but eventually it came to light that he was using an ancient German script called Sutterlin He may have been mad, but the stories are delightfully weird, rambling and opaque Before his breakdown, he was a writer, and a big influence on Kafka.



    12. It amuses me to believe that readers are, as it were, writers chaperones but even the most rigorous thinker may well have arrived perhaps at the surely capital insight that these lines of mine are autumnally fading with which, in point of fact, their purpose has been fulfilled.Swiss writer Robert Walser s Microscripts is as much art as it is object of art A companion publishing effort of New Directions and the Christine Burgin Gallery, it is a facsimile of the objects that Walser wrote on and th [...]


    13. Often, the conventional reading experience is to discover a writer through either their magnum opus or one of their other substantial works The logic here, I assume and it is sound logic, no one would dispute it is that we see the writer perform at his best, upon the highest peak of his achievement, so that we as readers get the most bang out of our buck , since any conscientious reader is all too tragically familiar with the fact that time is our most valued commodity, and that to invest it in [...]


    14. It was a real pleasure re entering the strange world of Robert Walser s prose pieces This is a selection of English translations of the myriad strips and odd pieces of discarded paper, used envelopes, advertising flyers, etc containing the tiny texts written in Walser s unique radically miniaturized version of German Kurrent script which were left behind after his death in 1956 The items range from whimsical musings and observations about quotidian events that captured his fancy to short fiction [...]


    15. Before I heard of the Microscripts, I ll confess I hadn t heard much of Walser s writing Now I have, an am excited to read The Tanners or Jakob von Something Walser was admired by Kafka, and spent half his life in an asylum, where he composed these prose pieces They are called microscripts because he wrote them on scraps of paper in a special handwriting three millimeters high It s unbelievable they exist I am grateful that they do.For those interested, Rivka Galchen has a great review with inf [...]


    16. Echoing what others have said about this book, it s a beautiful object Large color reproductions of the manuscripts front and back mirrored across from the decoded and translated texts on thick acid free paper, with original illustrations Even in paperback it s a book fetishist s centerpiece In concept, too, it s fascinating a selection of Robert Walser s painstakingly transcribed miniature manuscripts in archaic notation that are rendered into nice, clean, Latin script, resembling in collection [...]


    17. These short pieces aren t all brilliant, but enough of them are to warrant the five star rating Walser takes you around the bend, over the hills, past streams, up mountains and back around the bend again But even though you might end up in the same place, the view has totally changed He constantly explores the relationship and boundaries between himself as author , his subjects, and his readers Usually I put on a prose piece jacket is the best example of this But the speed in which he makes thos [...]


    18. Robert Walser wrote many maybe most of his stories on scraps of paper in a tiny, almost undecipherable script, with letters often no than a millimeter high First drafts of his published works were probably done in this way for much of his career This book gathers many of his unpublished microscripts, showing them side by side with photo reproductions of the actual manuscripts The resulting book is beautifully printed and fascinating to look at, though I wouldn t recommend it as the place to sta [...]


    19. Les v noci je obt n sch dn , proto e nen vid t na kmeny strom , s jejich domn lou existenc je lov k nucen po tat a p esv d se o n , pokud kolem sebe hmat do v ech stran Ale jak nezapomenuteln mi b hem jednoho Donizettiho koncertu, kter jsem si mohl vyslechnout a v nitru p i tom ze srdce plesat, zachutnaly dva t i s rov dort ky Tak e co se hou evnat ho a vytrval ho p itak n psan rukou t k , nenechal jsem se odradit Jist v rnost v m povaze m zd se oprav uje k tomu, abych uv il, e mi tu a tam n kdo [...]


    20. The Microscripts are Robert Walser s short stories written in teeny tiny pencil script on the back of business cards, matchbook covers, and scraps of paper Walser is appreciated by some as a modernist, but I m afraid I found these micro narratives to be a little thin The author is deeply removed from the stories, which are highly abstract occasionally nonsensical It s a shame New Directions lavished so much attention on the book, which is absolutely beautiful finely bound on thick paper, with ri [...]


    21. The smallest among the greatest or the greatest among the smallest Who cares He is an savvy loser never really knowing what he writes about The train is one of the most striking images similar to Platonov and the way the word transpires is used is remarkable There is also a poem, that became now my favorite one, which enables us to breathe much better amid the dust And the microscript on van Gogh proves how Walser is a magnet for the spiritually wretched and the haunted by memories.What can one [...]


    22. The Swiss writer Robert Walser 1878 1956 spent many years engaged in writing tiny, tiny texts on little scraps of paper Originally believed to be code or just nonsensical scratchings Walser was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1929 , there were over 500 of these pieces left behind at his death Eventually, they figured out how to read them, and now, thanks to Susan Bernofsky, we have them in English to enjoy The edition here includes reproductions of the originals, so you can see how tiny they wer [...]


    23. In 1927, enigmatic Swiss writer Robert Walser began writing in a baffling set of tiny dots and scratches Thought by many to be further evidence of his insanity, these ant like pencil markings were actually an arcane, ultra condensed Germanic script that allowed the author to write out entire stories on torn envelopes, small scraps of paper, the back of a business card Microscripts collects twenty five of these pieces, presenting each work alongside a glossy, high res facsimile of the microscript [...]


    24. Far too important of a literary figure to live outside consideration New Directions in partnership with Christine Burgin has produced an incredible piece of literary history Their edition of Robert Walser s Microscripts is complete with color plates of Walser s codes reproduced at actual size accompanying the translations the word in this case taking on incredible layers of meaning The foreword and afterwords paint a detailed look into Walser s process and leave us asking questions and a desire [...]


    25. Going to have to reread re rate this at some point, because I wasn t in the right state of mind for decoded vignettes Near the end, I started to recognize the Walser that I love so much, but for the first 3 4 I just wasn t feeling it At times I wonder whether Walser eve intended people to read these the fact that they are in code probably indicates a no, but he often refers to the reader so I can t tell.


    26. Oh, I want to like Robert Walser, but I only do in tiny little bits Mostly, it s just as Walter Benjamin wrote about him in 1929 Everything seems to be on the verge of disaster a torrent of words pours from him in which the only point of every sentence is to make the reader forget the previous one It sounds terrific, but it isn t At least not to me, not this year anyway.I feel kind of left out.


    27. I took forever reading this not because I wasn t enjoying it but because I kept getting distracted by other books This is one can dip in and out of easily.Gifted to me at Christmas on account of Maira Kalman s illustrations, it presented a new and tortured writer to me.As I read these last few lines at New Year s, the poignancy rang true When a year stops, another instantly commences, as if one were turning the page The story keeps on going, and the beauty of a context is revealed.


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