Posts tagged Arno Schmidt
No one reads Arno Schmidt (1914-1979), a little-known major German writer whose corpus ranges from (seemingly) straightforward stories to writing that assails the reader with a literary and linguistic density of the highest degree—he is Germany’s Joyce.
Parsing Schmidt’s trade=mark syntax will reveal, among much else: tremendous wit, metanarratives, caustic social commentary, and passages fully charged with melopoeia.
English readers will have to wait for the amazing John E. Woods to finish translating Schmidt’s magnum opus, Zettels Traum (Bottom’s Dream)—it’s twice as long as Finnegans Wake—but, for the meantime, Woods has already provided us with sublime translations of Schmidt’s works, and he recommends the Collected Novellas as the place to start. In addition, I would suggest beginning with the volume Nobodaddy’s Children, which contains Scenes from the Life of a Faun, Brand’s Heath, and Dark Mirrors.
For more about this juggernaut of literature, see:
- Arno Schmidt at the Complete Review, where he is well-loved, and strongly influenced their Literary Saloon dialogs (Radio Dialogs I, II)
- "The Intellectual after World War III: Arno Schmidt’s Science Fiction", an essay by Ursula Heise
- "Watching TV with Arno Schmidt", an essay by Volker Langbehn; also, see his analysis of Zettels Traum (Google preview)
- Dalkey Archive is the current fountainhead of Schmidt in English
- Green Integer publishes the little sibling of Zettels Traum, The School for Atheists, and a selection of Schmidt’s erudite literary criticism, Radio Dialogs I and II
(Image: “Kühe in Halbtrauer” (trans. “Cows in Half Mourning”) by Jens Rusch; a title of a short story by Schmidt)