The reader is dreaming (Robert Walser/Karl Walser/Lydia Davis)

A young lady, a girl of perhaps twenty, is sitting in a chair and reading a book. Or she has just been diligently reading, and now she is reflecting on what she has read. This often happens, that someone who is reading must pause, because all sorts of ideas having to do with the book keenly engage him. The reader is dreaming; perhaps she is comparing the subject matter of the book to her own experiences hitherto; she is thinking about the hero of the book, while she fancies herself almost its heroine.

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Read the rest of Robert Walser’s microessay “Portrait of a Lady” (trans. by Lydia Davis) at The Offing. The painting–Portrait of a Lady—is by Karl Walser, Robert’s older brother.

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