By Volker Max Langbehn
Arno Schmidt (1914-1979) is taken into account the most bold and influential writers of postwar Germany; the Germanist Jeremy Adler has known as him a tremendous of postwar German literature. Schmidt used to be offered the Fontane Prize in 1964 and the Goethe Prize in 1973, and his early fiction has been translated into English to excessive severe acclaim, yet he's not a widely known determine within the English-speaking international, the place his complicated paintings is still on the margins of severe inquiry. Volker Langbehn's publication introduces Schmidt to the English-speaking viewers, with basic emphasis on his most famed novel, Zettel's Traum. One reviewer referred to as the ebook an elephantine monster due to its unconventional measurement (folio format), size (1334 pages and over 10 million characters), and designated presentation of textual content within the kind of notes, typewritten pages, parallel columns, and collages. the radical narrates the lifetime of the most characters, Daniel Pagenstecher, Paul Jacobi and his spouse Wilma, and their teenage daughter Franziska. In discussing the existence and works of Edgar Allan Poe, the 4 interact within the difficulties hooked up with a translation of Poe. Langbehn's examine investigates how literary language can mediate or account for the realm of studies and for ideas. Schmidt's use of unconventional presentation codecs demanding situations us to research how we predict approximately interpreting and writing literary texts. rather than viewing such texts as a illustration of truth, Schmidt's novel destabilizes this unquestioned mode of illustration, posing a thorough problem to what modern literary feedback defines as literature. No entire examine of Zettel's Traum exists in English.
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Extra info for Arno Schmidt's Zettel's Traum: An Analysis (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)
This differentiation raises the question whether a quotation is still a quotation if it has become distorted or manipulated beyond recognition and whether it is possible to always attribute the quotation with certainty. According to Schmidt, all writers of the literary tradition received their inspiration in and through the reading of other books. Their borrowing and paraphrasing are a common pattern that inevitably poses a threat to originality, the notion of the autonomous text or the authority of the writer.
Schmidt’s reluctance to compromise his writing style or to allow more accessibility results in such a surplus of possibilities for the reader that the result is as often a confusion about which to choose. This contradiction, nonetheless, is the kernel of his writing, and reflects back upon his idea of writing in columns. If traditional realistic writing inhibits a reflective reading experience by its inability to reflect beyond existing structures, then writing in columns dissolves established boundaries, but also cannot specify where new thought must begin.
He thus sought to demystify the effects of a philosophical tradition exemplified in the “liebenswürdige Wahn von einem singulären überlegenen »Abbilde Gottes«” or other metaphysical as20 sumptions. Zettel’s Traum dissolves the traditional unity of the book, and in doing so deliberately questions the coherence and autonomy of the literary text. As such, Zettel’s Traum fulfills the programmatic declaration Schmidt had made in “Berechnungen “I–III” to produce a new prose form (to be discussed in the next chapter).
Arno Schmidt's Zettel's Traum: An Analysis (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture) by Volker Max Langbehn