Kafka’s Closest Twin Brother

I recently wrote an essay on a new English translation of Robert Walser’s The Walk, which was first published in The Rumpus

http://therumpus.net/2012/07/the-walk-by-robert-walser/

And a short time later in The Brooklyn Rail:

http://www.brooklynrail.org/2012/10/books/kafkas-closest-twin-brother

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Walser’s “walk” is many things at once: the walk of life as in Dante’s cammin di nostra vita; the fusion of a Romantic’s celebration of nature as the source of all knowledge and inspiration with a Modernist’s playful intertextuality and layering of language; the artistic process in conflict with the conditions of material existence. Palpable throughout the story are echoes of wanderers and outsiders that have always been suspect to settled society: the vagabonds, artisans, circus performers, journeymen, and nomads who were exempt from the duties and moral codes that order, tame, and impose limitations on human coexistence.

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