The Microscripts by Robert Walser May 2010
“Robert Walser wrote many of his manuscripts in a highly enigmatic, shrunken-down form. These narrow strips of paper (many of them written during his hospitalization in the Waldau sanatorium) covered with tiny ant-like markings only a millimeter or two high, came to light only after the author’s death in 1956. At first considered a secret code, the microscripts were eventually discovered to be a radically miniaturized form of a German script: a whole story could fit on the back of a business card. Selected from the six-volume German transcriptions from the original microscripts, these 25 short pieces are gathered in this gorgeously illustrated co-publication with the Christine Burgin Gallery. each microscript is reproduced in full color in its original form: the detached cover of a trashy crime novel, a disappointing letter, a receipt of payment.”
Taken from the very great New Directions’ site here.
One microtext, The Prodigal Son, is online here.
These texts have been translated by Susan Bernofsky, who is also still working on her Life of RW…
Otherwise, with so much now available of Walser’s it might be easy to have overlooked Speaking to the Rose Writings 1912-32, published by Bison Books [here]. Most of these 50 ‘microtexts’ were previously unpublished and have been translated by Christopher Middleton.
Here is JM Coetzee on two of Walser’s novels in the NYRB 2000.
Here is Benjamin Kunkel’s recent New Yorker profile 2007.
Here is a very dedicated and newsy site.
More, later, hopefully…