Clairvoyant of the Small
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From the publisher
The first English-language biography of one of the great literary talents of the twentieth century, written by his award-winning translator
Finalist for the 2021 NBCC Award for Biography
“[An] authoritative, moving biography. . . . Walser made of his own multiform solitudes a gift to the outside world, offering readers an existential sympathy of a kind for which only he could find the appropriate literary expression.”—Paul Binding, Times Literary Supplement
The great Swiss-German modernist author Robert Walser lived eccentrically on the fringes of European society—his pronounced interest in everything inconspicuous and modest prompted W. G. Sebald to dub him “a clairvoyant of the small.” His revolutionary use of short prose forms won him the admiration of Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, Robert Musil, and many others. In this immaculately researched and beautifully written biography Susan Bernofsky sets Walser in the context of early twentieth century European history, establishing him as one of the most important modernist writers.