Robert Walser 『Selected Stories』 tr. by Christopher Middleton

「I could imagine that I was lying in bed, everlastingly in bed! Perhaps that would be the best thing.」
(Robert Walser 「Helbling's Story」 より)

Robert Walser 
『Selected Stories』

Translated by Christopher Middleton and Others
Foreword by Susan Sontag

New York Review Books, New York, n.d. (2002)
x, 196p, 20.2x17.6cm, paperback
Book design by Lizzie Scott

Originally published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Inc. in 1982

おおむね2~3頁の短いものが多いですが、「The Walk」はやや長め(52頁)です。

walser - selected stories


Foreword by Susan Sontag

Response to a Request
Flower Days
Two Strange Stories
Balloon Journey
Kleist in Thun
The Job Application
The Boat (Translated by Tom Whalen)
A Little Ramble (Translated by Tom Whalen)
Helbling's Story
The Little Berliner (Translated by Harriett Watts)
The Walk
So! I've Got You (Translated by Tom Whalen and Carol Gehrig)
Nothing at All (Translated by Tom Whalen and Carol Gehrig)
Kienast (Translated by Tom Whalen and Carol Gehrig)
Frau Wilke
The Street (1)
Snowdrops (Translated by Tom Whalen and Trudi Anderegg)
The She-Owl
Knocking (Translated by Tom Whalen and Carol Gehrig)
Titus (Translated by Tom Whalen and Carol Gehrig)
Vladimir (Translated by Tom Whalen and Carol Gehrig)
Parisian Newspapers (Translated by Tom Whalen and Carol Gehrig)
The Monkey
Dostoevsky's Idiot (Translated by Tom Whalen and Carol Gehrig)
Am I Demanding?
The Little Tree
Stork and Porcupine
A Contribution to the Celebration of Conrad Ferdinand Meyer
A Sort of Speech
A Letter to Therese Breitbach
A Village Tale
The Aviator
The Pimp
Masters and Workers
Essay on Freedom
A Biedermeier Story
The Honeymoon
Thoughts on Cézanne

Postscript by Christopher Middleton


「Foreword: Walser's Voice」(Susan Sontag)より:

「The moral core of Walser's art is the refusal of power; of domination. I'm ordinary - that is, nobody - declares the characteristic Walser persona. in "Flower Days" (1911), Walser evokes the race of "odd people, who lack character," who don't want to do anything. The recurrent "I" of Walser's prose is the opposite of the egoist's: it is that of someone "drowning in obedience." One knows about the repugnance Walser felt for success - the prodigious spread of failure that was his life. In "Kienast" (1917), Walser describes "a man who wanted nothing to do with anything." This non-doer was, of course, a proud, stupendously productive writer, who secreted work, much of it written in his astonishing micro-script, without pause. What Walser says about inaction, renunciation of effort, effortlessness, is a program, an anti-romantic one, of the artist's activity. In "A Little Ramble" (1914), he observes: "We don't need to see anything out of the ordinary. We already see so much."」

「In Walser's fictions one is (...) always inside a head, but this universe - and this despair - is anything but solipsistic. It is charged with compassion: awareness of the creatureliness of life, of the fellowship of sadness. (...) Walser's virtues are those of the most mature, most civilized art. He is a truly wonderful, heatbreaking writer.」

「Helbling's Story」より:

「It is in any case an obstacle which hinders me from distinguishing myself, for, when I have a task to perform, let's say, I always take thought for half an hour, sometimes for a whole one. I reflect and dream: "Should I tackle it, or should I still put off tackling it?" and in the meantime (...) some of my colleagues will have been remarking that I am slothful, whereas in fact I am just too sensitive. Ah, how wrongly one is judged!」

「Perhaps I have taken the wrong profession, and yet I confidently believe that in any profession I would be the same, do the same, and fail in the same way. I enjoy, as a result of my supposed slothfulness, little respect. People call me a dreamer and a lazybones. Oh, what a talent people have for giving the wrong labels!」

「My life does indeed consist of mere trivialities.」

「There are said to be people who have no capacity for betterment and no talent for learning from the behavior of others. No, I do not learn, for I find it beneath my dignity to surrender to the urge for education.」

「I ought really to be quite alone in the world, me, Helbling, and not a single living being besides me. (...) I could imagine that I was lying in bed, everlastingly in bed! Perhaps that would be the best thing.」

「Frau Wilke」より:

「Often I walked in the neighboring forest of fir and pine, whose beauties, wonderful winter solitudes, seemed to protect me from the onset of despair. Ineffably kind voices spoke down to me from the trees: "You must not come to the dark conclusion that everything in the world is hard, false, and wicked. But come often to us; the forest likes you. In its company you will find health and good spirits again, and entertain more lofty and beautiful thoughts."
Into society, that is, where the big world forgathers, I never went. I had no business there, because I had no success. People who have no success with people have no business with people.
Poor Frau Wilke, soon afterwards you died.
Whoever has been poor and lonely himself understands other poor and lonely people all the better. At least we should learn to understand our fellow beings, for we are powerless to stop their misery, their ignominy, their suffering, their weakness, and their death.」

「Oh, whoever has been himself alone can never find another's loneliness strange.」



ひ-2-改(ひとでなしの猫 2 改訂版)


Away with the Fairies


分野: パタフィジック。

趣味: 図書館ごっこ。

好物: 鉱物。スカシカシパン。タコノマクラ。

将来の夢: 石ころ。

尊敬する人物: ジョゼフ・メリック、ジョゼフ・コーネル、尾形亀之助、森田童子。


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