Jakob von Gunten

Jakob von Gunten

Robert Walser Christopher Middleton / Feb 28, 2020
Jakob von Gunten The Swiss writer Robert Walser is one of the quiet geniuses of twentieth century literature Largely self taught and altogether indifferent to worldly success Walser wrote a range of short stories es
  • Title: Jakob von Gunten
  • Author: Robert Walser Christopher Middleton
  • ISBN: 9780940322219
  • Page: 220
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Swiss writer Robert Walser is one of the quiet geniuses of twentieth century literature Largely self taught and altogether indifferent to worldly success, Walser wrote a range of short stories, essays and four novels, of which Jakob von Gunten is widely recognized as the finest It tells the story of a seventeen year old runaway from an old family who enrolls in a schThe Swiss writer Robert Walser is one of the quiet geniuses of twentieth century literature Largely self taught and altogether indifferent to worldly success, Walser wrote a range of short stories, essays and four novels, of which Jakob von Gunten is widely recognized as the finest It tells the story of a seventeen year old runaway from an old family who enrolls in a school for servants The Institute, run by the domineering Herr Benjamenta and his beautiful but ailing sister, is a deeply mysterious place the faculty lies asleep in a single room The students though subject to fierce discipline, come and go at will Jakob, an irrepressibly subversive presence, keeps a journal in which he records his quirky impressions of the school as well as his own quickly changing enthusiasms and uncertainties, deliberations and dreams And in the end, as the Institute itself dissolves around him like a dream, he steps out boldly to explore still unimagined worlds.
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    About "Robert Walser Christopher Middleton"

      • Robert Walser Christopher Middleton

        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 twentieth century, perhaps Switzerland s single significant modernist In his homeland he has served as an emboldening exemplar and a national classic during the unparalleled expansion of German Swiss literature of the last two generations.Walser s writing is characterized by its linguistic sophistication and animation His work exhibits several sets of tensions or contrasts between a classic modernist devotion to art and a ceaseless questioning of the moral legitimacy and practical utility of art between a spirited exuberance in style and texture and recurrent reflective melancholy between the disparate claims of nature and culture and between democratic respect for divergence in individuals and elitist reaction to the values of the mass culture and standardization of the industrial age.


    498 Comments

    1. Jakob von GuntenRobert WalserJakob 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 [...]


    2. 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 something utterly 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 [...]


    3. So this weekend I was in the UK, spending some time with my Dad who is temporarily based there My Saturday was planned I had father daughter time scheduled for the morning, I d sourced some vintage shops for the afternoon and I was meeting friends in the evening Best of all, I had just enough free time at lunch to finish Jakob Von Gunten, alone, in peace, with no distractions My work phone was off and I didn t have to check my emails all weekend A rare thing indeed There was a decent park across [...]


    4. 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 t quite so convinced, although I can understand why so many people love it.The 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 Ben [...]


    5. Quite an oddity it took me a while to decide whether I liked it or not it s quite 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 big city Berlin and join a school for servants much as Walser did called the Benjamenta Institute The only teaching members we meet are the Principal and his sister.The book is in diary form and consists of Jakob s r [...]


    6. Jakob von Gunten Robert Walser Un libro cada d a ow wd61z Siento que la vida exige emociones, no reflexiones.S , sin duda existe en el mundo eso que llaman progreso, pero no es sino una de las numerosas mentiras divulgadas por los hombres de negocios para poderle exprimir dinero a la masa con mayor cinismo y desparpajo La masa es el esclavo de nuestro tiempo, y el individuo, el esclavo de la grandiosa idea de masa Ya no hay nada bello ni excelente Lo bello, lo bueno y lo justo has de so rtelo t [...]


    7. I would wish it on no one to be me.Only I am capable of bearing myself.To know so much, to have seen so much, andTo say nothing, just about nothing.Written by Robert Walser, as quoted by J.M 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 [...]


    8. Jakob von Gunten uno di quei libri la cui capacit di suggerire interpretazioni infinita il romanzo preferito di Kafka, che lo leggeva ridendo di gusto ai suoi amici, e uno dei pi misteriosi libri che abbia mai letto la storia quella di un giovane discendente di una famiglia aristocratica che arriva in un istituto dove si insegna l umilt e la sottomissione solo chi riuscir a sottomettersi nel maggior grado di purezza, a essere uno zero rotondo come una palla riuscir ad adempiere perfettamente i d [...]


    9. 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 unmerciful rules which give us a direction and give us good taste that is the big thing, not us pupils Well, everyone feels this, ev [...]


    10. 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 Luckily,I 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 undercurrent Seeming levity of tone belies a violent clash of dichotomous [...]


    11. 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.



    12. 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 to quote 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 read [...]


    13. I ve been thinking a lot about institutions institutional living lately due to having recently finished two books back to back where the primary action takes place in one The other book being Leonora Carrington s The Hearing Trumpet which had a certain resonance with this book despite being significantly different Neither has quite the traditional take on institutions, a word that, for me, tends to conjure up images of Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo s Nest Both books have an interest [...]


    14. Franz Kafka amava molto le opere dello scrittore svizzero Robert Walser Rideva di gusto quando le leggeva ad alta voce ai suoi amici Jakob von Gunten , uscito nel 1909, era uno dei suoi romanzi preferiti E un condensato di saggezza e ironia, un piccolo gioiello ricco di pensieri sull inutilit di questi stessi pensieri A che servono a un uomo i pensieri e le idee, se ha la sensazione di non saper cosa farsene L enigmatico Jakob racconta in prima persona, in forma di diario, il suo periodo passato [...]


    15. Ubbidiamo senza riflettere 1909 Jacob Von Gunten un giovane di nobili origini che scappa di casa e si iscrivere all Istituto Benjamenta, una scuola preparatoria per domestici Qui s impara ben poco, c mancanza di insegnanti, e noi ragazzi dell Istituto Benjamenta non riusciremo a nulla, in altre parole, nella nostra vita futura saremo tutti qualcosa di molto piccolo e subordinato L insegnamento che ci viene impartito consiste sostanzialmente nell inculcarci pazienza e ubbidienza due qualit che pr [...]


    16. When I see a painting in a gallery or museum I avoid at all costs the name of the artist until I have experienced and been impacted by the work itself It is a task in self discipline not to peek at the plate where the artist s name is engraved waiting to create swathes of widening black bordered edges, its brushed strokes leaving my preconceived ideas, my self imposed biases, concerning the artist, the genre, the the shrinking and distorting of the painting out of its context, paling beyond reco [...]


    17. One day I shall be laid low by a stroke, and then everything, all these confusions, this longing, this unknowing, all this, the gratitude and ingratitude, this telling lies and self deception, this thinking that one knows and yet never knowing anything, will come to an end But I want to live, no matter what I am numb towards this novel Such is presently immune to interpretation Okay I checked no response Walser s novel exudes a refined decadence There are echoes of uproar and decay along the mar [...]


    18. Bayanlar baylar, e er m saade ederseniz, sizleri Jakob Von Gunten ile tan t rmak istiyorum Bir ocuk, bir renci Jakob Onun hakk nda ok ey s ylenebilir ama k sa kesece im nsana ait ok eyi kendinde bar nd rm Onun iyili ini, k t l n , tembelli ini, mar kl n , k stahl n , kibrini uzun uzun anlatabilirim ama buna gerek yok Bunun yerine onu ele veren kendi c mlelerinden bir ka n ve onunla nas l tan oldu umuzdan bahsedece im.Ondan ilk defa bahsedildi ini bana ayr ks bir okuma listesi sunan Enrique Vila [...]


    19. I liked the subtle sarcasm and clever wordplay in this novel, things I myself like to trot out, although likely without the attendant adjectives Walser s eponymous narrator has left home we don t know why and has enrolled himself in a school for servants He writes of his days there in a kind of diary Jakob engages in some leg pulling with the principal, the instructress and at least one of his fellow students He is probably pulling the reader s leg too, with sleight of hand sentences like this N [...]


    20. IN ATTESA DI VIVEREPesantezza e ottusit delle regole e delle forme al fine di preparare degli automi o dei mediocri, questo quanto a cui si sottopone di propria iniziativa il protagonista di questo bel romanzo di formazione, dalle tinte un po sbiadite e malinconiche Eppure Jakob sembra mantenere la lucidit , con testardaggine e imperturbabilit , come a dire posso concedervi tutto il mio io esteriore ma non avrete mai la mia anima, subendo punizioni sciocche che, vissute con irridente distacco, m [...]


    21. heeded a thankfully persistent whisper of walser walser walser and fell hard i d heard the gossipy parts how kafka dug him, how he lived his final years in a madhouse, how he died on a long walk in the snow, how he wrote in a pencilled hand so small that people thought it was a secret code but it wasn t it was just very very small.i d tried THE ASSISTANT, which is recently translated but earlier walser and could see the charm, but i was prejudiced against how its proto modern style took too long [...]


    22. This could be Gregor Samsa s uneasy dream that fateful night Kafka wrote Die Verwandlung in 1912 He had already read Jakob von Gunten in 1909 There is a relevant entry in his diary Jakob von Gunten, ein gutes Buch Inception




    23. There are a few authors I trust Their constant prodding as words flow, keeps me in a state of mild excitement Not too much to throw me into a tizzy and not too little that I may slip into ennui I call these authors perceptive, yet I can t let go of the idea that their bubble of perception and mine overlap sufficiently for me to believe so With that nagging thought, Jakob von Gunten s ambivalence is reassuring Jakob, with his bourgeois intellect, enters the Benjamenta Institute and soon contrives [...]


    24. No pasa muchas veces, pero en ocasiones sucede que te cruzas, m s o menos por azar, con un libro que no ten as pensado leer, pero en un impulso irracional decides darle una oportunidad, aunque en realidad no est s esperando mucho de l, pero luego empiezas e, inesperadamente, ya en la primera p gina te das cuenta de que este libro va a ser uno de tus favoritos por lo que te resta de vida Esto me ha pasado con el Jakob von Gunten de Robert Walser.Tengo que confesar que tampoco ha sido por puro aza [...]


    25. Walser la bir eyi daha net anlad m, hem de kesinkes Sa lam ve iyi bir edebiyat yapmak i in alengirli c mlelere, ne dedi i belli olmayan, gizemli kal p ve ifadelere hi ama hi gerek yok En iyi edebiyat en iyi edebiyat yapan karakterlerin ya am n ta ortas na de en ayaklar n n g l l ve bir o kadar da hayat n tamamen yabanc s ve nefret edicisi olmalar d r Dostoyevski yi Dostoyevski yapan Walser Walser yapan, Kafka y da Kafka yapan da budur Okurken ki 2 kitab bu, Gezinti adl yk derlemesinden sonra ne [...]


    26. An imaginative, deceptively simple book One becomes almost suspicious of the narrator half way It s nice that there is no plot just beautiful prose poem like passages until close to the end But the last 20 pages is where the actual plot lies by that time you re lulled into the strangely lit mood world so convincingly that it really affects you I loved the quiet humor of this book, and the slightly uncomfortable feeling I get from it.


    27. msarki.tumblr post 5501700The publisher claims this German work Jakob von Gunten as Robert Walser s finest work Other reviewers speak of the wondrous language and how the title character Jakob reminds them of Holden Caulfield, among others For those of you who may not be privy to this person, Holden was the famous character in J.D Salinger s novel, The Catcher in the Rye I didn t get that same reaction reading this book Jakob was young like Holden, and sort of cheeky and intelligent, but I faile [...]


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