âOne morning, as the desire to take a walk came over me, I put my hat on my head, left my writing room, or room of phantoms, and ran down the stairs to hurry out into the street.â
This is how Robert Walser (1878-1956) â also called the Swiss Â«KafkaÂ» â begins his prose piece Â«The WalkÂ» in 1917. Whatever the walking person experienced on his walk, turns into text afterwards.
ââAll this,â so I proposed resolutely, âI shall soon sketch and write down in a piece or sort of fantasy, which I shall entitle âThe Walk.âÂ
These are his words some 20 pages later in an exemplary text which also contains his entire poetics.
So, âto walserâ means to go on a walk through reality as an endowed self with waking senses and then to transform that walk into a walk over the paper after returning.
Can we "walser" as well? The proof of the pudding is in the eating! After a brief introduction by the author, who demonstrates the initial scene and the return with his hat and umbrella, played by the teacher, we all become attentive walkers and collect our impressions on Walserâs traces â just a hundred years after him. After an hour of attentive recording outside we return to our "writing room" or " room of phantoms", i.e. back to the classroom and begin our walk again with the pen over the paper.
Now we get an overview of Walser's text, discover its construction, the outside and the inside, we listen to his lyrical "earality" in the reading by an actor, but also detect its historic relevance in a detailed analysis.
Finally, we have a look at the sceneries of Walserâs walks and of his life and compare them at his time and nowadays. We are now strengthening all of these aspects in our walk texts, and present our revisions to the others in the class and expose them to mutual criticism.
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