Susan Bernofsky, Chair of the PEN Translation Committee, teaches in the Writing Program at Columbia University and has translated Robert Walser, Jenny Erpenbeck, Yoko Tawada, Hermann Hesse, Gregor von Rezzori and others. Winner of the 2006 Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize and the 2012 Herman Hesse Prize, she blogs about translation at www.translationista.org.
In this unforgettably creepy story admired by the likes of Robert Walser and Thomas Mann, a bold peasant woman believes she has outwitted the devil until a horrible spider’s egg develops on the site of the kiss he gives her to seal the deal. The Black Spider can be seen as a parable of evil in the heart or at large in society, or as a Lovecraftian vision of the cosmic horror that underpins all life on Earth.
Robert Walser lived in Berlin from 1905 to 1913. This newly translated collection brings together his alternately celebratory, droll, and satirical sketches of the bustling German capital, from its theaters, cabarets, painters’ galleries, and literary salons, to the metropolitan street, markets, the Tiergarten, rapid-service restaurants, and the electric tram.