Berlin Stories by Robert Walser, Susan Bernofsky

By Robert Walser, Susan Bernofsky

A brand new York assessment Books OriginalIn 1905 the younger Swiss author Robert Walser arrived in Berlin to affix his older brother Karl, already a tremendous stage-set fashion designer, and instantly threw himself into the colourful social and cultural lifetime of town. Berlin tales collects his alternately celebratory, droll, and satirical observations on each point of the bustling German capital, from its theaters, cabarets, painters’ galleries, and literary salons, to the metropolitan highway, markets, the Tiergarten, rapid-service eating places, and the electrical tram. initially showing in literary magazines in addition to the feuilleton sections of newspapers, the early tales are characterised via a joyous urgency and the generosity of an unconventional advisor. Later items take the shape of extra own reflections at the writing strategy, stories, and personality experiences. All are choked with counter-intuitive photos and vignettes of startling readability, showcasing a distinct expertise for whom no aspect used to be trivial, at grips with a urban diving headlong into modernity.

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Sample text

I am walking rather quickly, then suddenly stop: how beautiful and quiet such a park is, it transports you to the most distant landscapes, you find yourself in England or Silesia, you’re lord of the manor and nothing at all. The most beautiful thing is when you seem not to be conscious of the beauty and merely exist as do other things as well. I gaze down for a while at the silent, half-green river. Everything, by the way, is so green, and so gray, which actually is a color for slumber, for closing one’s eyes.

A few of the people near me are conversing as they eat. The earnestness with which they do so is appealing. As long as you’re undertaking to do something, you might as well set about it matter-of-factly and with dignity. Dignity and self-confidence have a comforting effect, at least on me they do, and this is why I so like standing around in one of our local Aschingers where people drink, eat, talk, and think all at the same time. How many business ventures were dreamed up here? And best of all: You can remain standing here for hours on end, no one minds, and not one of all the people coming and going will give it a second thought.

Is this permitted? There is a so-called Old West Berlin, a newer West (the area around the Gedächtniskirche), and a very new West. The middle one is perhaps the nicest. Certainly one finds the most and greatest elegance on Tauentzienstrasse; the Kurfürstendamm is delightful with its trees and calashes. With great regret I see that I have now bumped against the frame delimiting my essay, leaving me with the tragic conviction that many things I most definitely wished to point out have gone unsaid.

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