About the Event:
Come celebrate the publication of Robert Walser's A Schoolboy's Diary and Other Stories, a collection of stories, vignettes, faux homework assignments, and beautiful and varied observations from a voice that is, somehow, both childish and remarkably perceptive. The pieces from A Schoolboy's Diary—there are over 70 of them, many not filling one page—span Walser's career, from his early imitation of a cheeky schoolboy's diary done for a writing class ("Fritz Kocher's Essays") to the later stories set during the First World War, where the characters's youthful enthusiasm brings joy to a war that on the other hand they know will bring an end to the world they know and love ("Hans"). Ben Lerner, poet, author of the much admired Leaving Atocha Station, and professor at Brooklyn College and Damion Searls, who translated the book, most of which was never before available in English, will be reading from the book and discussing the life and career of Robert Walser.
Damion Searls has translated many classic twentieth century writers, including Proust, Rilke, Elfriede Jelinek, Christa Wolf, Hans Keilson, and Hermann Hesse. For NYRB Classics, he edited Henry David Thoreau’s The Journal: 1837–1861, translated Nescio’s Amsterdam Stories, and will retranslate André Gide’s Marshlands. He has received Guggenheim, National Endowment for the Arts, and Cullman Center fellowships and is currently writing a book about Hermann Rorschach and the cultural history of the Rorschach test.
Ben Lerner is the author of three books of poetry and a novel, Leaving the Atocha Station. He has been a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry, a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, and a fellow of the Howard and Guggenheim Foundations.