If I am well-disposed, that's to say, feeling good, I tailor, cobble, weld, plane, knock, hammer, or nail together lines the content of which people understand at once. If you liked, you could call me a writer who goes to work with a lathe. My writing is wallpapering. One or two kindly people venture to think of me as a poet, which indulgence and manners allow me to concede. My prose pieces are, to my mind, nothing mor nor less than parts of a long, plotless, realistic story. For me, the sketches I produce now and then are shortish or longish chapters of a novel. The novel I am constantly writing is always the same one, and it might be described as a variously sliced up or torn-apart book of myself.
Robert Walser, "Eine Art Erzãhlung," 1928-1929.
Born in the year 1878 at Biel, Switzerland, Robert Walser is a little known treasure trove of noxious pre-existentialist literary helpings. He wrote three novels: The Tanner Family (pre-dating Full House by almost seventy years), The Assistant and Jakob von Gunten, later made into a black and white movie by the incredible Quay Brothers.
Robert Walser wrote in German. Short sentences, comprable to the nature of Richard Brautigan's curvy rivers. As a person, Walser liked to walk--to organize his thoughts and let them roam. It is no suprise then that his collection of short stories is called the Walk, feautring anthropomorphic swans and more than lifetime's share of insights and reflections on being a man who will some day soon be diagnosed with schizophrenia (1933). Off to the asylum he goes in Herisan, Appenzell where he lived out his allegedly nutty days until 1956.
Franz Kafka was so influenced as a young adult by the effective nature of Jakob von Gunten's diary format, that it inspired him to do the same. Many parellels can be found about their work: often paranoid, questioning the humanoid, metaphor and proverbial investigations, cloaked in subtexts.
Many of his books are now in print in the United States, translated into English. Highly recommended.