Many of Martin Walser's early works describe the triumph of conformity over subjectivity. From the early 1990s, however, Walser's characters begin to develop a stubborn insistence on self-expression, and this externalizes their author's “late style.” In a series of extraordinarily diverse novels and collections of aphorisms, Walser elaborates what Edward W. Said calls in On Late Style (2006) an aesthetic of “intransigence, difficulty and unresolved contradiction,” which subordinates history, contemporary realities, and political correctness to the awkwardly otherworldly sensibilities of a set of protagonists who no longer care whether they are in step with their time. In The Moment of Love (Der Augenblick der Liebe, 2004), Final Flowering (Angstblüte, 2006), and A Man in Love (Ein liebender Mann, 2008), in particular, Walser presents characters who are politically incorrect, provocatively immoral, and even deliberately deviant. In this way Walser declares his own untimeliness and his own “late” rejection of what he sees as the normative authority of contemporary social and political discourse.

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