Microscripts

“Microscripts”
by Robert Walser
Translated by Susan Bernofsky
Illustrated by Maira Kalman
New Directions, NY, 2012

The Swiss writer ROBERT WALSER (1878–1956) worked as a bank clerk, a butler in a castle, and an inventor’s assistant and produced nine novels and more than a thousand stories before being hospitalized for mental illness in 1933. At which time he declared, “I am not here to write, but to be mad. The luminous Swiss writer, who died at the age of 78 in 1956, was either possessed of a certain vanity or else blessed with exceptional eyesight. If you take a stroll through New Directions’ new volume of Walser’s microscripts, prodigiously packaged with paintings by Maira Kalman and photos of the original text, you might lean toward the latter.”
– Boston Globe

“The magnificently humble. The enormously small. The meaningfully ridiculous. Robert Walser’s work often reads like a dazzling answer to the question, How immense can modesty be?”
– Rivka Galchen, Harper’s

“A remarkable new volume: in a way the Microscripts seem like letters from a lost civilization — amazingly archaic, runes of a remarkable mind. Yet they also establish Walser as a modernist.”
– The New Yorker