Robert Walser: "To Be Small and To Stay Small" | Newberry

Robert Walser: "To Be Small and To Stay Small"

Led by Mike Levine. Seven sessions, 6 - 7:30 pm.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Tuesdays, February 13 - March 27

6 - 7:30 pm

This seminar has been cancelled.

Cost and Registration Information

Early Registration Price (January 9 at 10 am – January 26 at 4 pm): $200
Regular Registration Price (January 26 at 4 pm – first day of class): $220

Members, seniors, and students get a 10% discount.

This seminar has been cancelled.

Excuse our dust!

Beginning January 2018 the Newberry will be undertaking renovation of much of the first floor. The Adult Education Seminars Program will still have use of the basement classrooms, but please check this link frequently for the latest conditions - which exterior doors are open or closed, where to find an accessible entrance, which restrooms are available, etc.

Because of the renovation, the Newberry Bookstore will be closed during the Winter/Spring and Summer 2018 terms. As such, seminar participants will be responsible for acquiring all required texts for their seminars on their own. We apologize sincerely for the inconvenience, and appreciate your understanding. We have put together a list of helpful resources that should make it easy to find the books you need.

Seminar Description

Kafka and other eminent German-language modernists admired his work, but only posthumously has Robert Walser’s originality been widely appreciated. Like Kafka, he renders the most ordinary experience extraordinary, haunted by the eternal questions about what it means to be human. But it is the strange equanimity and gentle bemusement of Walser’s narrators that make his voice so singular. We will read a selection of his short prose and his most acclaimed novel, Jakob von Gunten. Seven sessions.

Mike Levine’s most recent Newberry seminar was on Grace Paley’s stories. He has a PhD in English from Rice University.

Materials List


  • Robert Walser, Jakob von Gunten. NYRB Classics; First Edition Thus edition (September 30, 1999). ISBN#: 978-0940322219
  • Robert Walser, Selected Stories. Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (October 30, 2012). ISBN#: 978-0374533625

First Reading:

  • For the first class, please read Robert Walser, Jakob von Gunten, pp. 3 - 33.

This class is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about our registration procedures.