After a nervous breakdown in 1929, Robert Walser spent the remaining twenty-seven years of his life in mental asylums, closed off from the rest of the world in almost complete anonymity. While at the Herisau sanitarium, instead of writing, Walser practiced another favorite activity: walking. Starting in 1936, Carl Seelig, Walser’s friend and literary executor, visited and accompanied him on these walks, meticulously recording their conversations. As they strolled, Walser told stories, shared his daily experiences of the sanatorium, and expressed his opinions about books and art, writing and history. When Seelig asked why he no longer wrote, Walser famously replied: “I’m not here to write, I’m here to be mad.” Filled with lively anecdotes and details, Walks with Walser offers the fullest available account of this wonderful writer’s inner and outer life. Translator Anne Posten joins Alexandra Kleeman in a tribute to the reaches of Walser's imagination, and the riches of Seelig's archive.
Anne Posten's translations have appeared or are forthcoming in n+1, Gigantic, Hanging Loose, and many others. She won the inaugural Loose Translations Award from Hanging Loose Press in 2012, which resulted in the publication of her translation of Tankred Dorst’s novella This Beautiful Place, and she won an Honorable Mention for the 2008 Susan Sontag Translation Prize. Posten holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Translation from Queens College, CUNY, where she teaches in the English Department. She is the recipient of a 2014-15 Fulbright Grant to Berlin.
Alexandra Kleeman is the author of the debut novel You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine and Intimations, a short story collection.. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Harper's, VOGUE, and n+1. She lives in Staten Island.