Saturday, June 19, 2010

for no one enjoys like a convalescent.

[...]These tales are quite extraordinarily delicate - everyone realizes that. But not everyone notices that they are the product not of the nervous tension of a decadent, but the pure and vibrant mood of a convalescent. "I am horrified by the thought that I might attain wordly success," he says, in a paraphrase of Franz Moor's speech. All his heroes share this horror. But why? Not from horror of the world, moral resentment, or pathos, but for wholly Epicurean reasons. They wish to enjoy themselves, and in this respect they display a quite exceptional ingenuity. Furthermore, they also display a quite exceptional nobility. And a quite exceptional legitimacy. For no one enjoys like a convalescent. The enjoyment of the convalescent has nothing of the orgy about it. His reinvigorated blood courses toward him from mountain streams, and the purer breath on his lips flows down from the treetops. Walser's characters share this childlike nobility with the characters in fairy tales, who likewise emerge from the night and from madness - namely, from the madness of myth.

- Walter Benjamin, Robert Walser / Karl Walser: Robert Walser as Karl Moor