Share
| All Events >
Susan Bernofsky, one of the preeminent translators of German-language literature, directs the program Literary Translation at Columbia in the MFA Writing Progam at the Columbia University School of the Arts. Among her many published translations are Yoko Tawada's Memoirs of a Polar Bear, Jenny Erpenbeck's The End of Days, which won the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and the small masterpieces of Robert Walser.
Author
Robert Walser was a German-speaking Swiss author whose works are regarded as among the most important writings of literary modernism. He is often compared to Franz Kafka and Walter Benjamin, and although in his lifetime he was better known than either author, his writing was largely forgotten until in the 1970s. Walser was never able to support himself as a writer and held various jobs throughout his career. He spent the last several decades of his life in a sanatorium, where he developed a microscopically tiny coded handwriting in order to write his "Microscripts", translated and published in 2010. Several contemporary German writers, including Peter Handke, W. G. Sebald, and others, cite Walser's influence.
June 3, 2021 | 6:30pm

Clairvoyant of the Small: Susan Bernofsky on the life of Robert Walser

Virtual Event

6:30 pm PT | 7:30 pm MT | 8:30 pm CT | 9:30 pm ET

We join Point Reyes Books to present award-winning translator Susan Bernofsky in this celebration of her long-awaited biography of the modernist writer Robert Walser, Clairvoyant of the Small. She will be in conversation with Kate Zambreno.

Register for the event on Point Reyes Books event page. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the book while you’re there!


About Clairvoyant of the Small: The Life of Robert Walser

The great Swiss-German modernist author Robert Walser lived eccentrically on the fringes of society, shocking his Berlin friends by enrolling in butler school and later developing an urban-nomad lifestyle in the Swiss capital, Bern, before checking himself into a psychiatric clinic. A connoisseur of power differentials, his pronounced interest in everything inconspicuous and modest—social outcasts and artists as well as the impoverished, marginalized, and forgotten—prompted W. G. Sebald to dub him “a clairvoyant of the small.” His revolutionary use of short prose forms had an enormous influence on Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, Robert Musil, and many others.

He was long believed an outsider by conviction, but Susan Bernofsky presents a more nuanced view in this immaculately researched and beautifully written biography. Setting Walser in the context of early twentieth century European history, she provides illuminating analysis of his extraordinary life and work, bearing witness to his “extreme artistic delight.”

Contact:
Leslie-Ann Woofter
lwoofter@catranslation.org
415.512.8812
Susan Bernofsky, one of the preeminent translators of German-language literature, directs the program Literary Translation at Columbia in the MFA Writing Progam at the Columbia University School of the Arts. Among her many published translations are Yoko Tawada's Memoirs of a Polar Bear, Jenny Erpenbeck's The End of Days, which won the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and the small masterpieces of Robert Walser.
Author
Robert Walser was a German-speaking Swiss author whose works are regarded as among the most important writings of literary modernism. He is often compared to Franz Kafka and Walter Benjamin, and although in his lifetime he was better known than either author, his writing was largely forgotten until in the 1970s. Walser was never able to support himself as a writer and held various jobs throughout his career. He spent the last several decades of his life in a sanatorium, where he developed a microscopically tiny coded handwriting in order to write his "Microscripts", translated and published in 2010. Several contemporary German writers, including Peter Handke, W. G. Sebald, and others, cite Walser's influence.