« Yes, it’s really true: the human brain involuntarily starts composing songs in the electric tram, »
This exerpt is from the second in a series of excerpts from Robert Walser’s Berlin Stories, which have been translated into English for the first time by Susan Bernofsky, and just published in a new edition by New York Review Classics.
»Riding the “electric” is an inexpensive pleasure. When the car arrives, you climb aboard, possibly after first politely ceding the right of way to an imposing gentlewoman, and then the car continues on. At once you notice that you have a rather musical disposition. The most delicate melodies are parading through your head. In no time you’ve elevated yourself to the position of a leading conductor or even composer. Yes, it’s really true: the human brain involuntarily starts composing songs in the electric tram, songs that in their involuntary nature and their rhythmic regularity are so very striking that it’s hard to resist thinking oneself a second Mozart. »
Image: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Tram and Rail, 1914