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Speaking to the Rose


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Table of Contents

A Note on Van Gogh's L'Arlesienne; Brentano; Writing Geschwister Tanner; The Back; Alley; The Story of the Prodigal Son; The Cave Man; Dreaming; Hercules; Odysseus; Theseus; Olga's Story; Something about Goethe; The Robber; The One and Only; Finally she condescended; The Fairytale Town; The Blind Man; And now he was playing, alas, the piano; An Essay on Lion Taming; These little services; Ramses II; Spanish Wine; Wall; It can so happen that; Brentano (III); From the Life of a Writer; Letter of a European; O how in this not large; Apparently not a cloud; The White Lady; The Red Thread; I would like to be standing; Loud expressions of opinion; Letter to a patient Lady; The stage space might have measured; Looking out into the landscape; It's still not so long ago; Cabaret Scene; The idea was a delicate one; Execution Story; To a Poet; She addresses me; Prose Piece; Me Endeavors; I was Reading Two Stories; A Propos the Kissing of a Hand; The Avenue; Heroic Landscape; The Gifted Person; The Lake; Epilogue

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A collection of 50 mostly unpublished and untranslated writings by a respected and influential German writer

About the Author

Christopher Middleton is David J. Bruton Jr. Centennial Professor of Modern Languages, Emeritus, at the University of Texas at Austin. Besides being an eminent British poet, translator, and essayist, he was Walser's first translator into any language in The Walk and Other Stories, Jakob von Gunten, and Selected Stories.


"Middleton translates to perfection both the text and the spirit. . . . Walser's central themes of self-effacement, the primacy of the imagination, the liberating aim of creative play are richly displayed in the new volume. You'll find both the Walser deadpan . . . and his pratfall. . . . . Walser's lightness is lighter than light, buoyant up to and beyond belief, terrifyingly light. At times, he seems closer to writers like the French poet Francis Ponge than to his 'weightier' peers such as Musil, Broch, or Mann. Both Ponge and Walser, through an almost phenomenological parsing and shedding of received notions, reveal the uniqueness of insignificant things. In his insignificance, Walser was among the sovereign."-Bookforum * Bookforum *
"Journals (and the contemporary malady of journalishness) are full of solitude and feigned humility, as small as personal; Walser's microtexts are the opposite. Or, small script = large human. Smallness makes text liquid, lose-able, ubiquitous. Walser is a scale explosion."-Trisha Donnelly, Artforum International -- Trisha Donnelly * Artforum International *
"Splendidly translated by the inestimable Christopher Middleton, a poet and champion of Walser's. . . . They remind us of the pleasure of his keen eye, his alert imagination, and his lyric voice."-Joseph Dewey, Review of Contemporary Fiction -- Joseph Dewey * Review of Contemporary Fiction *
"A little gem. . . . Christopher Middleton has translated and introduced a selection of Walser's strange scribbles, including many from his pre-asylum period. . . . What a find."-George Fetherling, New Brunswick Reader -- George Fetherling * New Brunswick Reader *

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