Black-and-white photograph of a young man wearing a coat and tie

Robert Walser

(1878 - 1956)

Born in Biel, Switzerland, Robert Walser moved to Berlin in 1905, where he wrote thousands of stories and sketches of everyday street life. In an introduction to a collection of his short stories, Susan Sontag writes that Walser’s fiction is “charged with compassion: awareness of the creatureliness of life”; Walter Benjamin wrote in 1929 that Walser’s characters “display a quite exceptional nobility.” After suffering a series of mental breakdowns, Walser spent the last twenty-three years of his life in an asylum, where he died while walking in the snow on Christmas Day in 1956.

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