A Chronology

About Robert Walser

A Chronology

04/15/1878 Born Robert Otto Walser in Biel, Switzerland.
1892 Apprenticeship at the local branch of the Berner Kantonalbank, Biel (until 1895).
10/22/1894 Death of mother, Elisa Walser Marti.
1895/96 Fails to become an actor in Stuttgart, Germany. Returns to Switzerland, on foot, in early October 1896. Lives mostly in Zurich until 1905.
5/8/1898 First publication: several unsigned poems in the Sunday newspaper of “Der Bund”, Bern. Meets Franz Blei, first contact with editors at the journal “Die Insel” in Munich.
1899 Spends several months in Thun, Switzerland. Autumn until spring 1900, lives in Solothurn, Switzerland.
1901 Travels to Munich and Berlin.
1902 <i>Fritz Kocher’s Aufsätze</i>, <i>Der Commis</i> and <i>Ein Maler</i> published in the Sunday newspaper of “Der Bund”; further publications in “Die Insel”.
1903 Spends several months working in a factory in Winterthur, Switzerland. Later that year, clerk to the inventor Carl Dubler in Wädenswil, near Zürich.
1904 Clerk at the Zürcher Kantonalbank in Zurich. First book, <i>Fritz Kochers Aufsätze</i>, is published by Insel Verlag, Leipzig. Also publishes several shorter pieces.
1905 Moves to Berlin. Attends a school for servants, spends the rest of the year working as a servant at Schloss Dambrau in Oberschlesien (now located in Poland).
1906 Writes first novel, <i>The Tanners</i>. Walser’s editor at Bruno Cassirer is the poet Christian Morgenstern.
1907 First novel, <i>The Tanners</i>, is published by Verlag Bruno Cassirer in Berlin. Until 1910, various contributions to literary journals and magazines (“Schaubühne”, “Kunst und Künstler”, “Zukunft”, “Simplicissimus”, etc.).
1908 Second novel, <i>The Assistant</i>, is published by Bruno Cassirer in Berlin.
1909 Third novel, <i>Jakob von Gunten</i>, as well as the collection of poems <i>Gedichte</i>, are published by Bruno Cassirer, Berlin.
1913 Returns to Switzerland. First lives with his sister Lisa in Bellelay in the Bernese Jura, then moves to an attic room at the Hotel Blaues Kreuz in Biel. Beginning of friendship with Frieda Mermet. <i>Aufsätze</i> is published by Kurt Wolff Verlag, Leipzig.
01/28/1914 Death of father, Adolf Walser. After the outbreak of WWI, several weeks of military service per year. <i>Geschichten</i> is published by Kurt Wolff, Leipzig. Prepares the collection <i>Kleine Dichtungen</i> for Kurt Wolff, for which he receives, based on a recommendation by Hermann Hesse, the inaugural prize from “The Women’s League to Honor Rhineland Poets” (second impression, 1915).
1916 <i>Prosastücke</i> is published by Rascher Verlag, Zurich. Various publications, mainly in Swiss periodicals.
1917 <i>Der Spaziergang</i> is published by Huber Verlag, Frauenfeld, Switzerland, and <i>Kleine Prosa</i> by Francke Verlag, Bern.
1918 <i>Poetenleben</i> is published by Huber Verlag. Writes his novel <i>Tobold </i>(lost).
1920 The collection of plays <i>Komödie</i> is published by Bruno Cassirer, Berlin, as well as the prose collection <i>Seeland</i>, Rascher, Zurich (now backdated to 1919) .
1921 Moves to Bern. Writes the novel <i>Theodor</i> (lost).
1925 <i>Die Rose</i>, his last book, is published by Rowohlt Verlag in Berlin. Writes, in a highly miniaturized Sütterli script, the still unpublished novel <i>Der Räuber</i>. Continues to write the so-called “microscripts”.
1929 Enters the Waldau asylum in Bern, after a severe mental crisis. Significant decline in literary production and publication.
1933 Transfer to the Herisau sanitarium, and placed under guardianship. Abandons all literary activities.
1936 Receives first visit by the journalist Carl Seelig. Beginning of their long walks through eastern Switzerland.
1944 Carl Seelig is declared Walser's legal guardian, after a comprehensive declaration of surety.
12/25/1956 Walser dies on a walk through the snow. Carl Seelig oversees Walser’s literary estate.
1966 The lawyer Elio Fröhlich establishes the Carl Seelig Foundation.
1973 The Carl Seelig Foundation establishes the Robert Walser Archive.
2004 The Carl Seelig Foundation is renamed The Robert Walser Foundation Zurich.
2009 After the Foundation’s relocation to Bern, it is renamed The Robert Walser Foundation Bern.
09/18/2009 Opening of the Robert Walser Center in Bern.