Robert Walser: Jakob von Gunten Ein Tagebuch



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Other character Thus are the scenes in this novel enacted in a seuence of Siamese links between Jakob and AN Other Jakob and Kraus Jakob and hisbrother Jakob and Herr Benjamenta Jakob and fraulein Benjamenta a rotational pairing of opposites diametrically opposed Throughout this Jakob is by no means a constant a intessential everyman he subtly adapts to each pairings idiosyncrasies to fulfil the role of subservient or lord it Thus in the His Long-Lost Family unholy triefecta between the Cocteau an siblings and himself he slithers between sub and dom with remarkable dexterityWalser explores coupledom thus as a techniue to illustrate the multi layers of the human condition each pairing speaks to life s permutations whether friendship love homoerotic love duty or even death Each relationship is a refractory thread which opensp a new window of waltenshuung How does this feel Like the Second Sisters Series Boxed Set universe has been stretched out from pole to pole wrenched out of its non euclydic slumber and prostrated bellyp on the examining table for the mother of all post mortems If there is mysterium it is The Bride Wore Scarlet unabashedly eviscerated and the contents strewn out for our gaze no less mysterious but a hell of a lot accessible How is this done Through torrents ofndercurrents Nothing but nothing is explicit yet the accretion of seuence after seuence creates a cumulative atmosphere of ninhibited wondrousness and marble cake layers of richness potent in sensuality and promises I would wish it on no one to be meOnly I am capable of bearing myselfTo know so much to have seen so much andTo say nothing just about nothingWritten by Robert Walser as oted by JM Coetzee in The Genius of Robert Walser Those dates there at the top of this review tell me that I took an inexplicable two and a half weeks to read this novella of a mere 164 pages At the back of my edition I find a schematic overview of Walser s biography You know the style a date and where he was in that year 1892 95 apprenticeship in the Biel branch of the Berner Kantonalbank 22nd October 1894 death of his mother Dreams of a career as an actor1895April August in Basel Living with relatives Employed as secretary with a haulier and a bankFrom September in Stuttgart Living with his brother in a single man s hostel Working for the publishing company Cotta End of his hopes of a Thespian career1896 Mirror Image (SWAT: Top Cops until the end of September in Stuttgart Returned to Switzerland on footI have to check to see as the crow flies taking his destination as Z rich that is just over 100 miles on roads and pathways closer to 140 Probably around a week How could it possibly take me longer to read 164 pages than for him to walk 140 miles Walking the firm ground eatenp by the rhythm of pacing feet The smell of wet grass the sound of cows tearing green stalks rain on your face the wind in your ears Jakob von Gunten offers the opposite of such pleasures Apart from being inside a claustrophobic institution one that purports to be a training school for valets but offers no instruction employs teachers who are asleep or dead or only appear to be dead or have turned to stone in any case the pupils can get nothing from them apart from the feeling that life here is arrested that this is a kind of ante room to life a state of infinite waiting apart from all that there is no firm narrative ground How to Write Erotica underfootagmires erupt the passing landscape bleaches out at the corner of my eye and turns into the stuff of nightmare Jakob von Gunten is one of the most nsettling narrators I have ever come across He is a nothing one of the large round attractive attractive zeros eine reizende kugelrunde Null that the Institut Benjamenta is so keen to produce a master of self effacement he has no ties of any kind with family or social class or friends or work colleagues He apparently exists only in his relationships with the other inmates of the institute and his relations with them are characterised by a disconcerting mix of condescension and admiration along with the odd swirl of inappropriate intimacy Schacht for example Jakob likes talking to Schacht He seems to nderstand everything you say to him and he himself from time to time says something significant And then he complains Soldiers Pregnancy Protocol uite often Jakob loves that in a conversation because it gives him the opportunity to look at him and feel deep heartfelt sympathy with him and this is where it shifts where the ground begins to move because the German word Mitleid can also mean pity and Schacht when you look at him has something pitiable about him even when he is not complaining Schacht has soul And because Jakob can masuerade as a sympathetic listener Schacht even betrays his shameful secret he has a disease the sort of disreputable disease that he hopes Jakob will be discreet about and indeed Jakob promises him on his word of honour that he will keep silent on this matter to reassure him And then asks him to show him the diseased partOr Kraus Kraus is not aick learner But he will make a very good servant he has the right air of humility and acuiescence Behind the Throne (Morgan Crowe Trilogy, unmatched incomparable He is bound to be employed by the best sort a Countess at the least If it weren t for hisnsightly spots Really very nfortunate Poor Kraus Mich zum Beispiel w rden die Punkte die ihn verunzieren nicht im mindesten hindern ihn zu k ssen wenn es darauf ank me For my part those spots that spoil his looks would not prevent me from kissing him if it was necessary Under what circumstances would it be necessary I wonder Jakob does go out To watch with euanimity how the Polish waitress swindles him out of his only cash to walk in the anonymous crowds of nameless nothings that turns for him into a grim Grimm fairy tale world of dwarves and monsters trams like boxes of people omnibuses like huge insects The inhumanity of the masses 1909 an early witness to the alienating effect of city lifeHe visits his brother Yes he has a brother But his world is alien too Jakob mimics the behaviour of society with not a little talent How mean is that I had to take a break from this nightmare There seemed to be no destination for this journey and I was teetering swaying insecure It is impossible to read is this irony or sarcasm Is Jakob breathtakingly impudent or is he worryingly compliant Sometimes there is a glimpse of true nobility of the soul Or is he saying that nobility of the soul is a sham Hard to tell That tone of cheerful acuiescence in an nacceptable destiny Self regulation Self denial Self annihilation And yet forcing imposing himself on others Forcing the director of the institute to take on some kind of authority Feeding off others a parasite that Captivated by the Millionaire ultimately will kill its host It opened chasms of horror within We are the hollow menWe are the stuffed menBut Jakob maintains that they vibrateite an oddity it took me a while to decide whether I liked it or not it s A Mighty Big Wish uite abstract and the protagonist isn t someone that I would immediately warm to The novel is written in the first person Jakob is from a good family with money and possibly titled who decides to go to the Imagine the school scenes from Gormenghast rewritten by Kafka and you ll have a good idea of the atmosphere of Jakob von Gunten a short and stodgy philosophical fable of a very Germanic kind It s easy to see why Kafka and Hesse were such fans I wasn tite so convinced although I can nderstand why so many people love itThe novel consists of a journal written by the title character who has enrolled in a school for servants based on Walser s own experience at a valet school in Berlin The Benjamenta Institute is a closed world with its own bizarre rules a remote Principal a mysterious Instructress it s all dusty classrooms and intimations of impending disaster In this constrained setting Jakob conducts his own explorations of the interior world probing his mind examining his relationships with. Interiores eso sí Pero ¿ué ventaja se obtiene de ellos ¿A ién dan de comer las conuistas interiores» Así empieza Jakob von Gunten la tercera novela de Robert Walser la más amada por el autor pero también la más discutida e innovadora escrita en 1909 en Berlín tres años después de haber dejado el Instituto donde se había educado Y el

Here s the cover of the 1983 Vintage Books trade paperback I have 154 pages Full review to come I really really hated this book Jakob von Gunten the character is the most dull fey irritating and obtuse example of a first person narrator I have yet encountered in my literary sojourns I wanted to track him down and to bludgeon him to death Jakob Von Gunten is a metaphor of learning in the school of life We pupils all know one as well as the next that timidity is a punishable offence Whoever stutters and shows fear is exposed to the scorn of our Fraulein but we must be small and we must know know precisely that we are nothing big The law which commands the discipline which compels and the many The Italians Stolen Bride unmerciful rules which gives a direction and give The Greek Tycoons Mistress us good taste that is the big thing nots pupils Well everyone feels this even I do that we are small poor dependent dwarfs obliged to be continuously obedient Jakob aspires to be a servant To me for instance wearing a Tikki Tikki Tembo uniform is very pleasant because I never did know before what clothes to put on But in this too I am a mystery to myself for the time being Perhaps there is a very very commonplace person inside me But perhaps I have aristocratic blood in my veins I don t know But one thing I do know for certain in later life I shall be a charmingtterly spherical zero As an old man I shall have to serve young and confident and badly educated ruffians or I shall be a beggar or I shall perish But he also wishes to be rich When I see candles burning I always feel that I am wealthy And he dreams of vices Then Virtue came in a female figure of overwhelming beauty for anyone not frozen rigid and weeping I took her on my knee and fooled around with her When I had robbed her of her Bidding on Her Boss (The Hawke Brothers, unspeakable treasure the Ideal I chased her out with derision Jakob Von Gunten is an allegory of living a life How does one begin to write even an on the fly review of such a novel one that should be experienced as a series of deceptively simple vignettes in the young life of the titular character and be relished as Walser carries one along with Jakob s singular voice Jakob von Gunten is also a difficult novel from which toote given how the reader manages to catch small glimpses of how the narrative voice will develop and evolve something that this reviewer would not wish to ruin for any future reader of this very precious bookWalser really is a master at the microcosmic the Benjamenta Institute where Jakob installs himself to learn or not learn the ways of the world truly is the world Just as The Walk and The Assistant offer microcosmic and often claustrophobic scenes that suggest their application to society and culture at large so too does Jakob von Gunten In all of these works which to date are the only works by Walser I ve had the chance to read Walser gives Hoofd in de wolken (Puffin Island us searing an As I was reading through Jakob von Gunten I wondered what genre it belonged to Was it some kind of memoir Was it a coming of age story Was it a love story Was it perhaps something totally new a genre I d never met before Or was it rather somethingtterly ancient as ancient as the stories of the Old Testament Ancient yes that was the predominant feeling I was left with at the end though the writing has nothing biblical about it whatsoever being extremely lighthearted and jolly in tone which is one of the many paradoxes of this short novel In fact Jacob the narrator speaks constantly in paradoxes he tells of a school where no learning takes place and of a feared principal who is really rather meek Jacob sees beauty in the oddest of places even in the idiosyncrasies of headboy Kraus I do like people who get angry Kraus gets angry on the slightest pretext That is so beautiful so noble The sinner must always be faced with the person outraged or else something would be missing The mumbling of a grumbler is lovelier to me than the murmuring of a woodland stream Jacob expounds on the virtues of compliance to rules in one breath while telling s that he loves running on the stairs in the next To be supposed not to do something is so alluring sometimes that one can t help doing it Therefore I love so deeply every compulsion because it allows me to take joy in what is illicit If there were no commandments no duties in the world I would die starve be crippled by boredom I provoke the frowning law to anger a little afterwards I make the effort to pacify it Although it was written than one hundred years ago each word each sentence in this slim book has the freshness of new snow though perhaps new snow on which a happy dog has left a yellow stain because Jacob s sparkling words are always sprinkled with little ironies Sly and knowing people are to me an nspeakable abomination How nice Peter is in precisely this point His being tall so tall that he could crack in two is good but even better is the goodness of heart which keeps whispering to him that he is a cavalier and has the looks of a noble rake The entire book is a parade of seeming contradictions Nothing can excite me so deeply as the sight and smell of what is good and just Jacob tells s before revealing that nothing pleases me than to give a completely false image of myself to people for whom I have made a place in my heartThus for example I imagine that it would be nspeakably lovely to die with the terrible knowledge that I have offended whomsoever I love the most and have filled them with bad opinions of me Nobody will Secret Hideout (Cooper, understand that or only someone who can sense tremblings of beauty in defiance Those tremblings of beauty in defiance reminded me of the biblical story of Lucifer before the Fall whose heart according to Ezekiel was liftedp because of thy beauty but who had become corrupted by reason of thy brightness I imagined Jacob as a latter day Lucifer shining very brightly among his duller fellows But False Family unlike Lucifer he succeeds in seducing the Father figure of his world completley and causes him to lose his bearings so that instead of rejecting Jacob and casting him out he casts out all the good pupilsangels instead even the rule abiding and very fundamentalist Archangel KrausSo the story made me think about what the JudeoChristianIslamic world would be like if we d never had a Lucifer figure to demonise and if the deity had presented itself as just as human and weak as the rest ofsImageview spoilerWilliam Blake s Lucifer before the Fall hide spoiler Chris Middleton does such a proficient job in my introduction honing in on the mysterium journal element and subtle ribbing tone of Jakob that for a moment I think I am left with nothing to say LuckilyI am not one to succumb to silence even in those circumstances or to be perfectly precise I seem to always have something to say even when I don t For better or worse This entire novel then is a study of contrast and Regency Improprieties undercurrent Seeming levity of tone belies a violent clash of dichotomous life forces starting from Jakob himself who embodies a relentless pursuit of experiences an outward momentum which acceleratesnchecked couples with a seemingly dissonant imperative of repressing the same dulling and Cinderella Bride uashing all sense data and finishing with the non too subtle juxtaposition betweenotidian and otherworldly in place names eg the monotonous and heterogenous atmosphere of the Benjamenta Institute for servants vs the sumptuous mysterious world of the inner chambers And everything in between Which in this case is a intessential nothing Jakob having no plot and nencumbered with background details presents as an albedo scene sparce on props against which the klieglight carves out in microscopic details the dynamics of life through a narrative of character studyJakob is a duality juxtaposed in bilateral relations with other characters where yet another geodesic poses duality this time in the pair off between Jakob and an. «Auí se aprende muy poco falta personal docente y nosotros los muchachos del Instituto Benjamenta jamás llegaremos a nada es decir Mistletoe Hero (4 Seasons in Mistletoe ue el día de mañana seremos todos gente muy modesta y subordinada La enseñanzae nos imparten consiste básicamente en inculcarnos paciencia y obediencia dos cualidades e prometen escaso o ningún éxito Éxitos.

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Other people and recording everything in a breathless childlike narrativeThe microcosmic environment and the introspective narrator combine to produce a sort of parable about the importance of fully immersing yourself in everyday existenceI pay attention and that makes life beautiful for if we don t have to pay attention there really is no lifeHowever this theme doesn t come without a certain nativist anti intellectual strain that I found a little disingenuous however appealing Jakob hates the kind of person who pretends he nderstands everything and beamingly parades knowledge and wit what he likes is simplicity people who simply do without analysing This is an awkward message for a writer to pull off because a writer is precisely someone who reflects on and analyses their experiences And indeed for Jakob writers are just windbags who only want to study make pictures and observations To live is what matters then the observation happens of its own accord Of course Jakob himself has to embody exactly what he says he hates otherwise he wouldn t be able to narrate a book So he s intelligent and thoughtful but he s not happy about itI despise my capacity for thinking I value only experiences and these as a rule are The Potato Chip Puzzles (The Puzzling World of Winston Breen uite independent of all thinking and comparing Thus I value the way in which I open a door There is hidden life in opening a door than in asking aestionA really beautiful phrase but the idea behind it though attractive with a little reflection seems obviously wrong I say obviously because if it were true there would be no need to write books like this in the first place If this book has any value at all then that value can only be conveyed through means that the book itself disparagesIt has to be said as well that Christopher Middleton s translation in the NYRB edition seems rather heavy handed and well infelicitous at times We have sentences such as Schacht likes to offend against the rules and I to be candid Master of Her Virtue unfortunately no less which can only go through your head in a thick German accent Oops I mean Swiss On the other hand Middleton s introduction reads a bit awkwardly too so maybe that s just the way he speaksWalser once said God is the opposite of Rodin I don t know what he meant but I like it and I didn t want to end this review without mentioning it somewhere This book is similarly cryptic provocative and anti artistic I wouldn t recommend it exactly but if I saw you reading it in Starbucks I d nod sagely and offer to buy you another pumpkin latte Jakob von GuntenRobert Walser Jakob von Gunten dissects the remote and vulnerable regions of human brain the dramatic tensions between the fluctuating demons of inner self and the savage realities of outer world carves out an enigmatic reality which pierces your heart and thrusts yourself through the crests and troughs of an assorted compendium of human emotions Written during a period which transformed German fiction when refined compact elementary forms of prose were taking shape when prose was becoming analytic Jakob von Gunten could be said as an exemplary achievement in that sense in fact could be named an analytic solilouy The prose of Robert Walser has got something very primal in nature it reveals the naivete of an expressionist artists whose solilouynites the gleam of imagination and reality Jakob an ambiguous creature has noble faith in simple ideas but the idea of God deludes him A pedantic didactic sanctimonious Sex By The Numbers (Harlequin Blaze, upstart Jakob strangely combines arrogance and humility ann sleeping accurate dreamer who banters drowsing map of his routine activities The book consists of his reflections on the education he receives in the school an education in humility The humility taught by the Benjamentas is not of the religious variety Their graduates aspire to be serving men or butlers not saints Jakob is not like other pupils his consciousness forbids him to surrender himself to the follies carried out in Benjamenta for him the lessons in humility have a deep personal resonance One learns very little here observes young Jakob von Gunten after his first day at the Benjamenta Institute where he has enrolled himself as a student The teachers lie around like dead men There is only one textbook What is the Aim of Benjamenta s Boys School and only one lesson How Should a Boy Behave All the teaching is done by Fr Long Slow Burn ulein Lisa Benjamenta sister of the principal Herr Benjamenta himself sits in his office and counts his money like an ogre in a fairy tale In fact the school is a bit of a swindle Walser s design of improvisation assumes its impression on Jakob s sensibility his passion for surprise paradoxes remains in a constant flux of fact and fantasy The bourgeois runaway from elite lifestyle wants to become zero to start from all the way down As suggested by Sartre in Being and Nothingess one has to get rid of his projections to reach to the core of being where from the true existence of a person emanatesThough Walser and Jakob has much in common but the book can t be mistaken for a self portrait Jakob von Gunten could be said as a new creation if not then its parody for sure in the German wave of blending self and nobility German Idealism to venture social and cultural reforms He is highly self critical perhaps to the extent of Dostoyevsky s character in The Underground Man and Confessions of Rousseau One may get awestruck to note the discretion with which the pomposity of maturity and intellectualism are annihilated but without savageness It would not be appropriate to keep Walser in the breath of literature in which we put Kafka Sartre Nietzsche and others since Walser has not been an intellectual author once it was said for him that he is comic Kafka Jakob says I value the way in which I open a door The generations of men losing the joy of life with all their treatises andnderstandings and knowledgeI like running down stairs What a lot of talk The prose is an escapade built around idea of tales full of surprise adventure and paradoxes probably a mischievous blocking of dramatic thrust also a parody of epic breath Walser s prose is a dance rather than a walk through words small dialogue nuances in Jakob s monologues vibrate back and forth The Best erotica 2006 use of different vocabulary for different characters creates a distinct effect which seems to form vivid experience of nonrepresentational art Kraus s vocabulary embodies an impression which seems to shape out his character of humility servitudeKraus to Jakob You you ve got yourself pregnant with silly ideas What a notion Do something Work then you won t notice anything You snooper Snooping around for opinions and thoughts Go away I m beginning to hate the sight of you The reader constantly finds him herself in an ever churning vortex of reality and imagination you sometimes wonder whether Jakob himself is disturbing the holy brane of space and time to carve out something which can be taken for reality or it s one of his fantastical follies emanating from the profundity of his brain When he arrives in Benjamenta he gets fascinated with the idea that there is a mystery at the heart of the institute the mystery which when one traverses through the deep cervices of it may introduce oneself to the elementary realities of life But once Jakob penetrates in to the conundrum he finds a mere goldfish however an initiation seeds an enchantment before this perhaps in Jakob s mental space if not in physical space The book demands constant attention of the reader for sometimes it may occur as highly condensed interior monologue and during other it may simple be a mystical tale created out of contradiction and juxtaposition of words It s not like those creations of art which you may like or dislike instantly in entirety One may get caughtp with a strange feeling of irresoluteness about the book it may take time to sink in. Ran protagonista de esta «historia singularmente delicada» según n juicio de Walter Benjamin es el propio Instituto Benjamenta el alumno Jakob a través de su diario nos introduce en todos sus secretos en sus dramas y peueñas tragedias y en todos sus misterios convirtiéndolo en no de los escenarios más memorables de la literatura del siglo

Robert Walser a German Swiss prose writer and novelist enjoyed high repute among a select group of authors and critics in Berlin early in his career only to become nearly forgotten by the time he committed himself to the Waldau mental clinic in Bern in January 1929 Since his death in 1956 however Walser has been recognized as German Switzerland's leading author of the first half of the twent