"If it be permitted to speak of â€˜love at first sound,â€™ then thatâ€™s what I experienced in my first encounter with this poet of prose." So said Thomas Mann of the work of PeterAltenberg. A virtuoso Fin-de-SiÃ¨cle Viennese innovator of what he called the "telegram style" of writing, Altenbergâ€™s signature short prose straddles the line between the poetic and the prosaic, fiction and observation, harsh verity and whimsical vignette. Inspired by the prose poems of Charles Baudelaire and the Feuilletonâ€”a light journalistic reflection of his dayâ€”Altenberg carved out a spare, strikingly modern aesthetic that speaks with an eerie prescience to our own impatient time. Peter Wortsmanâ€™s new selection and translation reads like a sly lyrical wink from the turnof-the-century of the telegram to the turn-of-the-millennium of email.