Click here to see my latest essay for Berfrois: “How Simple is Simon? Unemployment, Masochism, and Daydreaming in Robert Walser’s “The Tanners.” It takes Robert Walser’s novel, The Tanners as its subject and tests out Walter Benjamin’s reading of poverty and unemployment. As the title suggests, I read Walser through the spectrum of unemployment, daydreaming, and masochism. Since it speaks to the issue of the poverty and misfortune of a Simpleton, I take the folkloric rhyme about “Simple Simon” as the leitmotif. (And as you can see from the suggestive image above, I relate Charlie Chaplin’s films, which take on the travels of the vagabond, to Walser’s novel and the themes of unemployment, poverty, masochism, and daydreaming.)
I hope you enjoy the essay.
I will be writing and publishing more on Walser’s novel and the powerful ideas it suggests in upcoming posts for www.schlemielintheory.com