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The Robber


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The story of a dreamer on a journey of self-discovery

About the Author

Robert Walser (1878-1956), the Swiss-German master of high modernist prose, was once so well known that the novelist Robert Musil, reviewing Franz Kafka's first book of stories, described Kafka as "a special case of the Walser type." Susan Bernofsky is an assistant professor of German at Bard College and the translator of short prose by Walser, Masquerade and Other Stories, and Gregor von Rezzori's Anecdotage.


"The Robber, a large novel writ small - in microscript - didn't reach print in its original German until 1972. Now, to the great benefit of all of us who haven't microscopes, comes Susan Bernofsky's triumphant translation of this extraordinary novel, one of the true wonders of the European fictional world. If you are fond of pleasure postponed, of insertions, digressions, concealments - and who is not? - this maze will amaze you. This translation has caught it all: you will scratch your head; you will laugh out loud." - William H. Gass "Those familiar with the work of the Swiss-German writer Robert Wasler, ... won't need to be prompted to procure his 1925 novel, The Robber, translated by Susan Bernofsky. It is one of his many posthumously discovered "microtexts", written we are told, "in a script that varied in height from one to two millimetres, executed with an often none-too-sharp pencil", and published in German only in 1972, after a decade of deciphering. In the euphoric, endlessly proliferating style typical of his work of the early 1920s, this "story of a dreamer on a voyage of self-discovery" is in marked contrast to the angst and mystery of his early novel Jakob von Gunten."--John Ashbery, Times Literary Supplement, 1 December 2000

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