“Clairvoyant of the Small”: A Conversation with S. Bernofsky and E. Myles (April 15)

Book Cover Clairvoyant of the Small

Book Cover Clairvoyant of the Small, © Yale University Press


A conversation between the writer and translator Susan Bernofsky and poet and writer Eileen Myles about Bernofsky's recent biography “Clairvoyant of the Small: The Life of Robert Walser.” 

Deutsches Haus at NYU and the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York present a conversation between writer and translator Susan Bernofsky and poet and writer Eileen Myles about Bernofsky's “,” (Yale University Press, 2021), the first English-language biography of Swiss author Robert Walser. In their conversation, Myles and Bernofsky will reflect on Walser's intriguing work and life, problems of translation, and on how we can read Walser from today's perspective.

About “Clairvoyant of the Small: The Life of Robert Walser”:

The great Swiss-German modernist author Robert Walser lived eccentrically on the fringes of society, shocking his Berlin friends by enrolling in butler school and later developing an urban-nomad lifestyle in the Swiss capital, Bern, before checking himself into a psychiatric clinic. A connoisseur of power differentials, his pronounced interest in everything inconspicuous and modest—social outcasts and artists as well as the impoverished, marginalized, and forgotten—prompted W. G. Sebald to dub him “a clairvoyant of the small.” Walser's revolutionary use of short prose forms had an enormous influence on Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, Robert Musil, and many others. He was long believed an outsider by conviction, but Susan Bernofsky presents a more nuanced view in this immaculately researched and beautifully written biography. Setting Walser in the context of early twentieth century European history, she provides illuminating analysis of his extraordinary life and work, bearing witness to his “extreme artistic delight.”

About the speakers:

Susan Bernofsky(she/her) is best known for her translations of seven works of fiction by the great Swiss-German modernist author Robert Walser, as well as novels and poetry by Yoko Tawada, Franz Kafka, Hermann Hesse, Jenny Erpenbeck, and Uljana Wolf. A Guggenheim, Cullman, and Berlin Prize fellow, she teaches literary translation at the Columbia University School of the Arts and is currently at work on a new translation of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain.

Eileen Myles (they/them) came to New York from Boston in 1974 to be a poet, subsequently novelist, public talker and art journalist. A Sagittarius, their 22 books include For Now, evolution, Afterglow, I Must Be Living Twice/new & selected poems, and Chelsea Girls. In 2019 they wrote and directed an 18-minute super 8 film, The Trip, a puppet road film. Eileen is the recipient of a Guggenheim, a Warhol/Creative Capital Arts Writers grant, 4 Lambda Book Awards, the Shelley Prize, and a poetry award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. In 2016, they received a Creative Capital grant and the Clark Prize for excellence in art writing. In 2019 Myles received a poetry award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. In 2020 they got the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Publishing Triangle. They live in New York and Marfa, TX. Their work in German is published by Matthes & Seitz Berlin.

’Clairvoyant of the Small’: A Conversation with Susan Bernofsky and Eileen Myles” is funded by the DAAD from funds of the German Federal Foreign Office (AA).

Location & Time

April 15, 2:00 PM EDT 

Virtual Event

Please Register here.

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