By Volker Max Langbehn
Arno Schmidt (1914-1979) is taken into account probably the most bold and influential writers of postwar Germany; the Germanist Jeremy Adler has referred to as him a huge of postwar German literature. Schmidt used to be provided the Fontane Prize in 1964 and the Goethe Prize in 1973, and his early fiction has been translated into English to excessive serious acclaim, yet he isn't a well known determine within the English-speaking global, the place his advanced paintings continues to be on the margins of severe inquiry. Volker Langbehn's publication introduces Schmidt to the English-speaking viewers, with fundamental emphasis on his most renowned novel, Zettel's Traum. One reviewer known as the e-book an elephantine monster as a result of 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 attached with a translation of Poe. Langbehn's examine investigates how literary language can mediate or account for the area of reports and for ideas. Schmidt's use of unconventional presentation codecs demanding situations us to investigate how we predict approximately studying and writing literary texts. rather than viewing such texts as a illustration of fact, Schmidt's novel destabilizes this unquestioned mode of illustration, posing an intensive problem to what modern literary feedback defines as literature. No entire examine of Zettel's Traum exists in English.
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Extra resources for Arno Schmidt's Zettel's Traum: An Analysis (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)
He controls the dialogue by and through his encyclopedic knowledge and forces the other participants to speak, to react, and thereby exposes their preconceived opinions. As the master of language Dan tests the word by the word. At the base of Schmidt’s Socratic dialogue is the rhetorical illumination of words to expose their falseness or incompleteness. The dialogic nature of truth unfolds in juxtaposition to a ready-made truth, which, according to Schmidt, typifies the selective reading practices of the literary establishment: “Ist Wahrheit das, was der Macht gefällt?
The Reader as Writer Schmidt’s theory of citation presents the text as a field of fusion and diffusion, establishing the process of writing as an act of synthesis and 100 analysis. Thus Schmidt differentiates between two textual models, with two different modes of writing. On the one hand, the analytical writer Schmidt takes into account the reader as she or he is and creates texts based on these observations in order to provoke a response. On the other hand, Schmidt envisions an ideal type of reader who participates in the writing process by way of the creative imagination.
But at any given point the reader remains caught in a maze, finding it almost impossible to locate the true sources for the various utterances. According to Armin Mohler, in Zettel’s Traum the endless amount of associations and esoteric citations suffocates the reader, forc45 ing him to lose the thread of action. Schmidt confronts the reader of Zettel’s Traum with a labyrinth of texts provoking the question if there is a center or origin. The reader soon questions whether Zettel’s Traum is literature at all.