quinta-feira, julho 31, 2014

A Schoolboy's Diary, by Robert Walser

I didn't know Robert Walser, and I bought this book in Zurich when looking for Swiss authors. I wasn't very impressed at first - nice stories, elegant writing, but not really engaging. But as I read on there were a few I liked very much, so I think it is worth reading. There was particularly a small text that I found beautiful and I transcribe it here:

Morning and Night

Early in the morning, how good, how blindingly bright your mood was, how you peeked into life like a child and, no doubt, often enough acted downright fresh and improper. Enchanting, beautiful morning with golden light and pastel colors!
How different, though, at night - then tiring thoughts came to you, and solemnity looked at you in a way you had never imagined, and people walked beneath dark branches, and the moon moved behind clouds, and everything looked like a test of whether you too were firm of will and strong.
In such a way does good cheer constantly alternate with difficulty and trouble. Morning and night were like wanting to and needing to. One drove you out into vast immensity, the other pulled you back into modest smallness again.

Or this other piece, so immediately familiar to anyone who loves to read:


Reading is as productive as it is enjoyable. When I read, I am a harmless, nice and quiet person and I don't do anything stupid. Ardent readers are a breed of people with great inner peace as it were. The reader has his noble, deep, and long-lasting pleasure without being in anyone else's way or bothering anyone. Is that not glorious? I should think so! Anyone who reads is far from hatching evil schemes. An appealing and entertaining thing to read has the good quality of making us forget for a time that we are nasty, quarrelsome people who cannot leave each other in peace. Who could deny this clearly rather sad and melancholy-inducing sentence? No doubt books often also sidetrack us from useful and productive actions; still, all things considered, reading has to be commended as beneficial, since it seems to be utterly necessary to apply a restraint to our violent craving for belongings and a gentle anesthetic to our often ruthless thirst for action.[...]

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