July 20, 2008

Index for Robert Walser's Robber

This post now resides on my other site 50 Watts:


  1. My favorite index in a novel is in Harry Mathews' The Sinking of the Odradek Stadium. (Where else will you find Musial, Stanley, 529 right before Musil, Robert 463?) But the most curious entry is for Odradek, Grace, who is only referred to by her first name in the body of the book. Since you don't find out what the real meaning of the title of the book is until the final pages it serves as a bit of a red herring for anyone who peeks into the index before finishing it.

  2. Your Jahnn Blog & this blog are very interesting. I also own "Enthused Letters", a rare treasure trove of teutonic drolleries (my late aunt, Monica Tornow, appeared in it).

    Walser himself was a human index, or better, a catalogue raisonée of central european art & neuroses. It would be a fitting homage to reconstruct Der Rauber just from the index … Walser, the patron saint of hunger-artists, would understand this compulsive sort of literary robbery.

    Excellent blogs, I am enthused!

    very best, mahendra singh

  3. Hi,

    I wanted to thank you for linking to me -- because I've now been introduced to a wealth of wonderful authors. I came across Walser in the same issue of Cabinet and have actually been working on a new sort of story based only on the index (perhaps a bit influenced by Pierre Menard). So far it is nothing like Walser's story.

    Thanks especially for pointing me to Brentano.


  4. Lauren, I'm glad you found this post. I indeed discovered the magazine through your posts at Letters from a Librarian, and spent some time scratching my head and clicking around the web to find them again last night. I'll link to your posts on Warner & Caillois as soon as I figure out how to modify this post without losing my index indents -- I fought hard for those indents.

    Mahendra, I'm enjoying your protosurrealist Snark. Seconds before visiting your site for the first time, I saw Rene Magritte's "Perspective - Madame Recamier de Gerard" for the first time (I kid you not, in a just-purchased 1965 anthology called "A Chamber of Horrors"). There's a joke about two seated coffins somewhere here...

    Chris, I'm going to study Mathews' index tonight in preparation for the novel.

  5. Also, please share any stories or reconstructed novels that grow from Mirra's Robber index!

    Re: Brentano, I'm going to scrape together his quotes from Marianne Thalmann's two books on German Romanticism.

  6. Thanks for noting this! I ran off an bought a copy of this immediately.

    Have you seen Helen Mirra's book Cloud, the, 3? It's a lovely object - kind of an exploded index to John Dewey's Reconstruction in Philosophy. I wrote about it a while ago here: http://www.futureofthebook.org/blog/archives/2007/08/thinking_about_indexing.html , though not very well. I first came across her work in a show in Chelsea - she'd made another piece based on Walser's The Robber, a green piece of wood divided into sections based on the fragments that Walser was working from, I think. I'd love to see that piece online, but I couldn't find it.

    Maybe also worth noting here that she's done at least some work as a book designer? The Dalkey Archive put out an edition of Viktor Shklovsky's Third Factory that she did the cover for - curious, because Dalkey almost never has good covers.

  7. Thanks Dan. I'll definitely check out Mirra's book and work. And this is another reminder that I need to read Shklovsky (like so many other authors, he gathers dust on my shelves, waiting to change my life).

    Looking around for confirmation of the existence of a book I once owned -- Shklovsky's "Mayakovsky and his Circle" -- I came to this site: http://www.sovlit.com/books/

  8. Alle,

    You are all Walsers. Tracing your threads is endless and more. For now, I will say this: Will, I have a copy of Mayakovsky and his Circle for you if you wish it. Also a color image of the Karl Walser cover for Der Gehülfe. All for now, NWO

  9. Wow, who knew? Thanks for posting this information!