Robert Walser

The Tanners

(German title: Geschwister Tanner)
ca. 381 pages
Robert Walser
Foto: Robert Walser

Robert Walser was born in Biel/Bienne in Switzerland in 1878 and died on a solitary walk in the snow on Christmas Day, 1956, near the Herisau sanitarium.


»A Paul Klee in prose, a good-humored, sweet Beckett, Walser is a truly wonderful, heartbreaking writer. In Walser’s fictions one is always inside a head, but this universe – and this despar – is anything but solipsistic. It is charged with compassion: awareness of the creatureliness of life, of the fellowship of sadness« Susan Sontag

»Was Walser a great writer? If one is reluctant to call him great, said Canetti, that is only because nothing could be more alien to him than greatness.« J. M. Coetzee

»Robert Walser moves me more and more […] He is truthful without making a frontal attack on the truth, he becomes truth by walking around it.« Elias Canetti

»Be an Outsider! Be a Hero! Be Robert Walser!« Thomas Hirschhorn

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English world rights (New Directions), Spanish world rights (Siruela, Paperback Sublicense: Debolsillo), Catalan world rights (Proa), Russia (Text), Brazilian Portuguese (Companhia das Letras), Portugal (Relogio d’Agua), France (Gallimard), Italy (Adelphi), Netherlands (Lebowski), Norway (Bokvennen), Japan (Choeisha), Poland (Poznańskie), Czech Republic (Opus), Slovakia (Smena), Hungary (Scolar), Bulgaria (Colibri), Estonia (Loomingu Raamatukogu), Slovenia (Pan), Bosnia (Connectum), Turkey (Can), Greece (Printa), Georgia (Ibis), India (Hindi), Israel (Am Oved)


»The Tanners, Robert Walser’s amazing 1907 novel of twenty chapters, is now presented in English for the very first time, by the award-winning translator Susan Bernofsky. Three brothers and a sister comprise the Tanner family – Simon, Kaspar, Klaus, and Hedwig: their wanderings, meetings, separations, quarrels, romances, employment and lack of employment over the course of a year or two are the threads from which Walser weaves his airy, strange and brightly gorgeous fabric.

»Walser’s lightness is lighter than light,« as Tom Whalen said in Bookforum: »buoyant up to and beyond belief, terrifyingly light.«
Robert Walser – admired greatly by Kafka, Musil, and Walter Benjamin – is a radiantly original author. He has been acclaimed »unforgettable, heart-rending« (J.M. Coetzee), »a bewitched genius« (Newsweek), and »a major, truly wonderful, heart-breaking writer« (Susan Sontag). Considering Walser’s »perfect and serene oddity,« Michael Hofmann in The London Review of Books remarked on the »Buster Keaton-like indomitably sad cheerfulness [that is] most hilariously disturbing.« The Los Angeles Times called him »the dreamy confectionary snowflake of German language fiction. He also might be the single most underrated writer of the 20th century... The gait of his language is quieter than a kitten’s.« »A clairvoyant of the small« W. G. Sebald calls Robert Walser, one of his favorite writers in the world, in his acutely beautiful, personal, and long introduction, studded with his signature use of photographs.« (book description from the English edition by New Directions)

Other publications

Im Bureau/In the Office (2011)

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English world rights (New Directions), Spanish World Rights (Siruela), Italy (Adelphi), Bulgaria (Funtasy)

Domestic rights sales: German Audiobook (Diogenes)

Der Spaziergang/The Walk (1917)

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English rights (USA: New Directions, UK: Serpent’s Tail), Spanish world rights (Siruela), Catalan rights (El Flâneur), Chinese simplex rights (Shanghai Translation – published, rights reverted), Russia (pre-publication serial rights: Inostrannaja Literatura; volume rights: Ad Marginem), Brazilian Portuguese rights (Editora 34), France (Gallimard), Italy (Adelphi), Netherlands (Lebowski/Dutch Media Group), Denmark (Batzer), Norway (Bokvennen – published, rights reverted), Finnland (Teos), Czech Republic (Opus), Slovakia (Premedia), Hungary (Magvetö – published, rights reverted), Bulgaria (Critique & Humanism), Romania (Univers – published, rights reverted), Estonia (Tänapäev – published, rights reverted), Greece (Gavrilidis), Kosovo / Albanian rights (Pa), Ukraine (Meridian Czernowitz Literature Foundation), Belorussia (Logvinau), Georgia (Ibis), Armenia (Antares)

Domestic Rights Sales: Audiobook rights (Universal Music / Deutsche Grammophon)

Jakob von Gunten/Jakob von Gunten (1909)

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English world rights (Serpent’s Tail / New York Review of Books), Spanish world rights (Siruela), Catalan world rights (Quaderns Crema), Basque world rights (Erein), Brazilian Portuguese (Companhia das Letras), Portugal (Relogio d’Agua), France (Gallimard), Italy (Adelphi), Netherlands (Lebowski), Denmark (Centrum - published, rights reverted), Sweden (Norstedts), Norway (Bokvennen), Iceland (Translation Centre at the University of Iceland), Japan (Choeisha), Thailand (Lighthouse Publishing), Poland (Poznanskie), Czech Republic (Opus), Hungary (Scolar), Bulgaria (Narodna Kultura), Estonia (Tänapäev), Lithuania (Vaga), Croatia (Naprijed), Slovenia (Beletrina), Bosnia (Gong), Turkey (Dogan), Greece (Printa), Macedonia (Templum), Georgia (Ibis)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (DAV)

Der Gehülfe/The Assistant (1908)

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English world rights (New Directions), Spanish world rights (Siruela, Paperback Sublicense: Debolsillo, Latin American Sublicense: El Hilo de Ariadna), Catalan world rights (Ed. 1984), Brazilian Portuguese (Siciliano de Livros), Portugal (Relogio d’Agua), France (Gallimard), Italy (Einaudi), Sweden (Modernista), Norway (Bokvennen), Finland (Teos), Japan (Choeisha), Poland (PIW), Czech Republic (Opus), Hungary (Scolar), Bulgaria (G. Danov), Estonia (Perioodika), Lithuania (Pradai), Slovenia (Mihelač), Turkey (Can), Albania (Asdreni), Georgia (Ibis)