Jakob von Gunten
The Institut Benjamenta: a school of humility for the unambitious. The young Jakob von Gunten arrives at this most curious of educational establishments with the goal of becoming ‘something very small and subordinate later in life’, a goal he sets about achieving with laconic dedication and wry detachment.
Irony, scepticism, absurd images and sensations, disconcerting humour, minor humiliations and minute observations mingle to form one of the signature works of twentieth century fiction. First published in 1908, a forerunner to and key influence on the work of writers such as Franz Kafka and Thomas Bernhard, Robert Walser’s masterpiece is a paean to infinitesimal unimportance, a celebration of the marginal life that is the life of the mind.
A clairvoyant of the small ... Walser has been my constant companion -- W. G. Sebald If he had hundred thousand readers, the world would be a better place -- Hermann Hesse, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature A truly wonderful, heartbreaking writer -- Susan Sontag An essential writer of our time -- Elias Canetti, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature His greatest novel ... a strange mix of exuberance and submission, lyrical abandon and self-abnegation -- Ben Lerner * New Yorker * An effortlessly classy writer, as elegant and as thoughtful as Joseph Roth, he is also engagingly excitable, his cry-outs to the reader reminiscent of the young Dostoevsky. * Big Issue *
Book experts at your service
What are you looking for?