Robert Walser


Robert Walser was born on 15 April 1878 in Biel. He died on 25 December 1956 during a walk in the snow. After his schooldays, he completed a bank apprenticeship and worked in various banks and insurance agencies in Zurich as an office clerk. His first poems, published in 1898, gave him instant success and allowed him access to literary circles. After publication of his first book, „Fritz Kochers Aufsätze“ [Fritz Kocher’s Essays], he followed his brother, Karl, a painter and stage designer, to Berlin in 1905. In quick succession, Walser published his three novels, „The Tanners“ (1907), „The Assistant“ (1908) and „Jakob von Gunten“ (1909). Due to an emotional crisis, Walser landed in a psychiatric hospital against his will in 1929, which he was never able to leave leave. Transferred from the Berner Clinic Waldau to Herisau in 1933, he completely gave up on writing, and lived there for 24 more years as a forgotten, anonymous patient.