Arno Schmidt's Zettel's Traum : an analysis /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Langbehn, Volker Max, 1959-
Imprint:Rochester, NY : Camden House, 2003.
Description:212 p. ; 24 cm.
Series:Studies in German literature, linguistics, and culture
Studies in German literature, linguistics, and culture (Unnumbered)
Subject:Schmidt, Arno, -- 1914-1979 -- Zettels Traum.
Zettels Traum (Schmidt, Arno)
Format: Print Book
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ISBN:1571132619 (alk. paper)
Notes:Includes bibliographical references (p. [193]-206) and index.
Review by Choice Review

English-speaking audiences will appreciate Langbehn's extremely useful introduction to Schmidt's notoriously difficult novel. Because of its any nonlinearity, open-endedness, bilingual and trilingual puns, dialect, alternative spellings and capitalizations, montages, intertextuality, and the carnivalesque, the novel has remained on the margins of contemporary German literature. For the most part Langbehn (San Francisco State Univ.) succeeds in helping the reader understand this gargantuan book of more than 1,300 pages, offering lucid applications of the critical apparatus of the early German Romantics and Lacan. He shows how Schmidt consciously wrote to counter the idealistic, canonical approach to literature espoused by most of the postwar German literary establishment. Langbehn uses Freud's concept of the conscious and the unconscious to demonstrate how Schmidt opposed normal narrative texts as falsifications of reality. According to Langbehn, the difficulty of the work originates in the subconscious: Schmidt challenges readers to interact and struggle with the text so that they question the nature of reality and comprehend the fragmentary nature of human existence and the arbitrariness and instability of all texts. And Langbehn correctly critiques Schmidt's egocentric, self-referential, and often absurdly complex constructions. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Graduate and research collections. W. Lagerwey Elmhurst College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review