Microscripts by Robert Walser, translated by Susan Bernofsky / ISBN 9780811220330 / 160-page paperback from Christine Burgin/New Directions
New paperback edition with full-color illustrations by Maira Kalman, Microscripts is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.
Robert Walser wrote many of his manuscripts in a highly enigmatic, shrunken-down form. These narrow strips of paper, covered with tiny ant-like pencil markings a millimeter high, came to light only after the author’s death in 1956. At first considered random restless pencil markings or a secret code, the microscripts were in time discovered to be a radically miniaturized form of antique German script: a whole story was deciphered on the back of a business card. These twenty-five short pieces address schnapps, rotten husbands, small town life, elegant jaunts, the radio, swine, jealousy, and marriage proposals.