Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Little Berliner - A Short Story by Robert Walser - 1914 - translated from German by Helen Watts

German Literature Month, November, 2019

Works so far read for German Literature Month, 2019

1. Allmen and The Pink Diamond by Martin Suter, 2011
2. The Marquise of O by Heinrich Von Kleist, 1808
3. Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada - 2014
4. Nightmare in Berlin by Hans Fallada - 1947
5. "The Little Berliner" by Robert Walser, 1914

"Walser’s virtues are those of the most mature, most civilized art. He is a truly wonderful, heartbreaking writer"'. Susan Sontag

"Since then I have slowly learned to grasp how everything is connected across space and time, the life of the Prussian writer Kleist with that of a Swiss author who claims to have worked as a clerk in a brewery in Thun, the echo of a pistol shot across the Wannsee with the view from a window of the Herisau asylum, Walser’s long walks with my own travels, dates of birth with dates of death, happiness with misfortune, natural history and the history of our industries, that of Heimat with that of exile. On all these paths Walser has been my constant companion. I only need to look up for a moment in my daily work to see him standing somewhere a little apart, the unmistakable figure of the solitary walker just pausing to take in the surroundings."  William Sebald

Mel first encountered the work of Robert Walser during German Literature Month in 2013, he followed up with posts on short stories in  2014 and in 2015 on his novel The Tanners.  We are returning to him this year through a very Walserian story, "The Little Berliner".

1878 to 1956 - Switzerland

"The Little Berliner" is narrated by a 12 year old girl from an affuent Berlin family.  The story really is enchanting, magic.  We see how the girl totally has the views of her class.  She knows her main destiny is to marry and have children.  

One very good way to get into Walser is through the Selected Stories collection pictured above.

Oleander Bousweau

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