Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Waiting Works: Institutional Autonomy in Robert Walser’s Jakob von Gunten Public Deposited
  • Reed Johnson, M.A., German & Slavic Languages and Literatures, "Waiting Works: Institutional Autonomy in Robert Walser's Jakob von Gunten", Thesis Advisor Arne Höcker.Robert Walser's Jakob von Gunten, published in 1909, retains a motif present in Walser's first two novels of waiting as a means of subjective liberation from a stagnant, monotonous, and spiritually vacuous life defined in the present. Their affirmative yet detached outlook on life is not a position of resistance, rather they ostensibly do nothing. These figures avoid modern institutions in favor of Walserian institution, in Jakob von Gunten the ‘Institut Benjamenta’. These institutions are structurally unstable, they merely to employ the individual, and in doing so protect him from unemployment. This point gets at another major concept in the thesis, that surrounding subjective autonomy. Jakob, like all of Walser’s protagonists, rules out a sense of the future- he crucially rejects the Bildungsroman telos. The performance of servitude as an act of waiting, of delaying the act of dutifulness, frame this endless present as a series of personal decisions.
Date Issued
  • 2022-08-06
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Last Modified
  • 2022-09-14
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