“The Gnarled Trunks Were Speaking a Primordial Language”
Trees in Robert Walser’s Texts.
The essay examines the relationship between trees and the human in the work of the
Swiss-German author Robert Walser (1878-1956). Starting from the early poems and short stories to
the late microscripts (Mikrogramme), trees are anthropomorphized: not only can they think, feel and
in some cases speak, but they do suffer too and feel empathy with human beings. In the Jahrhundert-
wende Walser’s ecocentrical concern anticipates the Naturlyrik of Erika Burkart, one of the most dis-
tinguished poets of contemporary Swiss-German literature, and also relevant issues of the German
ecological movements which rose in the 70s and in the 80s.
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