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 an immense of postwar German literature. Schmidt used to be presented 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 widely known determine within the English-speaking international, the place his complicated paintings continues to be on the margins of severe inquiry. Volker Langbehn's booklet introduces Schmidt to the English-speaking viewers, with fundamental emphasis on his most renowned novel, Zettel's Traum. One reviewer referred to as the publication an elephantine monster due to its unconventional measurement (folio format), size (1334 pages and over 10 million characters), and distinct presentation of textual content within the kind of notes, typewritten pages, parallel columns, and collages. the unconventional narrates the lifetime of the most characters, Daniel Pagenstecher, Paul Jacobi and his spouse Wilma, and their teenage daughter Franziska. In discussing the lifestyles and works of Edgar Allan Poe, the 4 interact within the difficulties hooked up with a translation of Poe. Langbehn's research 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 expect approximately interpreting 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 research of Zettel's Traum exists in English.
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Additional info for Arno Schmidt's Zettel's Traum: An Analysis (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)
Within such a framework, the foreignness of the quoted word, the “fremdes Textstück” (ZT 577), permits Schmidt to omit quotation marks, because everything is already a quotation without origin. Henceforth, Zettel’s Traum is written by the writer who dictates — Poe, Freud, or Joyce — and the one who writes down, Arno Schmidt, who always distorts. Hence, the writing subject is excluded from the text, as Ulrich Sonnenschein argues, and there seems to be no longer any difference 87 between text and intertext.
The gigantic format of Zettel’s Traum supplies further evidence of Schmidt’s attempts to subvert traditional literary classifications. The book’s physical appearance, its sheer size and volume, as well as its obvious quality as a reproduction, disrupts the immateriality of the signifier. 22 E THE ART OF WRITING IN COLUMNS The reader is thus made to experience what Benjamin defined as “Erlebnis” (mere existence) and “Erfahrung” (reflective experience). The two terms, mere existence and reflective experience, stand in a dialectical relationship in Zettel’s Traum.
Reading becomes a conscious act of reception, a cross-relational activity. The commentary simultaneously alienates the reader and functions as a means of disrupting the contemplative safety of reading, making it 13 impossible for the reader to remain passive. Variable elements within the text, as Wolfram notes, enable the reader to find relevant linguistic connections, such as the Tsalal language being a contamination of the French word “sale” and the English word “all,” and also its pointing to 14 “sully” meaning “besudeln” (ZT 767).
Arno Schmidt's Zettel's Traum: An Analysis (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture) by Volker Max Langbehn