A Schoolboy's Diary and Other Stories (New York Review Books Classics)
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A Schoolboy’s Diary brings together more than seventy of Robert Walser’s strange and wonderful stories, most never before available in English. Opening with a sequence from Walser’s first book, “Fritz Kocher’s Essays,” the complete classroom assignments of a fictional boy who has met a tragically early death, this selection ranges from sketches of uncomprehending editors, overly passionate readers, and dreamy artists to tales of devilish adultery, sexual encounters on a train, and Walser’s service in World War I. Throughout, Walser’s careening, confounding, delicious voice holds the reader transfixed.
however, to have serious difficulty forcing the calm, gentle beauty of his conquered landscape into tender syllables in such a way that even a shimmer of life peeked out of them; and just as he was tormenting himself in this way, a new torment arose before or behind him, of such a sort that it necessarily spoiled for him too this paradise he had, like a yapping dog, driven the other poet out of. A third person appeared on the scene in the form of a poet: a female poet. Hans, who, startled by the
Immoderate laughter is so pleasant. I am nice to Junge; I like him very much. We go for lots of walks together, and when we do we talk about what real life has in store for us. Wyß the rector is as tall as a tree trunk and holds himself like a soldier. We fear and respect him; these two upstanding feelings are a bit boring. I can no longer imagine the rector of a progymnasium as being anything other than just like Rector Wyß. Incidentally, he has an excellent understanding of corporal
supernatural spheres, cheek pressed to cheek and body against body, as though we had previously been two separate thoughts but were now one single one. How happy it made me that what I was doing made this sweet creature happy. To quench her blissful thirst for love made me the happiest of mortal creatures, made me a god. But now the train has stopped again, and the most ravishing of women has disembarked, while I had to keep riding. 1914 APOLLO AND DIANA I WAS, I remember, employed at the
blaze, now he’s terrifyingly visible again for a moment and now he disappears again and then he turns—oh, the sight!—with the girl in one arm and he comes back down the ladder carefully holding on with the other arm and he gives the mother, who has meanwhile recovered somewhat, back her daughter, who is practically smothered with hugs and kisses. What a moment! Oh, if only I could have been that good brave man! Oh, to be such a man, to become such a man! The house burns down to the ground. On the
with that idea. In fact I’m surprised we were even given this as a topic at all. Schoolboys cannot actually talk about the value of school and need for school when they’re still stuck in it themselves. Older people should write about things like that. The teacher himself, for instance, or my father, who I think is a wise man. The present time, surrounding you, singing and making noise, cannot be put down in writing in any satisfactory way. You can blabber all kinds of nonsense, but it’s a real