Andrea Scrima on The Walk

The Walk really is an awesome little book, possibly my favorite Walser book ever. Andrea Scrima at The Brooklyn Rail:

Here, at the very latest, Thomas Bernhard’s gleeful tirades spring to mind. The original version of Der Spaziergang makes it evident that Walser’s influence on Bernhard was a decisive moment in the development of the younger author’s own inimitable voice. Walser’s convoluted grammatical configurations and sequences of participles; his merrily cumbersome neologisms, regionalisms, and manic chattiness give rise to an intricately embellished language in which the comic and tragic, ridiculous and heartrending become indistinguishable. But while Walser deftly implemented exaggeration as a means to satirize the social order and his own precarious position within it, and occasionally pared down the verbiage of his style in a humble exploration of the human condition, Bernhard would take hyperbole to its bitterest extreme to expose the hypocrisy endemic to European, and particularly Austrian, postwar society with a ruthlessness that would have been alien to Robert Walser.

More from Conversational Reading:

  1. The Walk by Robert Walser Can’t write too much at the moment because it’s been a busy few days, but. I’ve read a lot of Walser. I thought I had...
  2. The Limits of My Language Over the weekend I picked up a copy of Marjorie Perloff's Wittgenstein's Ladder, mostly because it had the word Wittgenstein in the title, and then...
  3. J.J. Long's Thomas Bernhard Book I’ve been reading my Bernhard lately, which means I’ve been scouring the Internet for all the decent Bernhard criticism out there. Turns out that J.J....
  4. Robert Walser’s Berlin Stories The latest book in the Walser renaissance has just been published: Berlin Stories, translated by Susan Bernofsky, published by NYRB Classics. The NYRB blog offers...
  5. Kim Stanley Robinson An author who is new to me. Kim Stanley Robinson is best known as a novelist of scale, a creator of complex futures and universes...

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