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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

     

Zettel's Traum

by
Arno Schmidt


[an overview of the reviews and critical reactions]


general information | review summaries | review and reception notes | links | about the author

To purchase Zettel's Traum



Title: Zettel's Traum
Author: Arno Schmidt
Genre: Novel
Written: 1970
Length: 1536 pages
Original in: German
Availability: Zettel's Traum - Deutschland
  • John E. Woods has reportedly completed his translation of Zettel's Traum (also: Zettels Traum) but there are no details of any US/UK publication yet
  • Now (2010) available in a typeset edition from Suhrkamp; previous editions were merely typoscripts (that included all the author's mistakes, etc.)

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Why we haven't reviewed it yet:

Haven't been able to set aside the several hundred reading-hours required


Chances that we will review it:

Good -- it's one of my life's ambitions to make it through this

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Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
FAZ . 2/10/2010 Tilman Spreckelsen
NZZ . 8/12/2010 Manfred Koch
Der Spiegel . 20/4/1970 Gunar Ortlepp
Der Standard . 8/12/2010 Ronald Pohl
TLS . 7/12/1973 S.S.Prawer


  From the Reviews:
  • "Stolpersteine gibt es also genug in Zettels Traum, im Typoskript wie in der gesetzten Ausgabe. Das betrifft nicht zuletzt die Liebesgeschichte zwischen Daniel Pagenstecher und der ihn anhimmelnden Franziska, die man rührend oder albern finden mag, manchmal beides zugleich. Und man wird dort, durch frühere Schmidt-Lektüre zur Wachsamkeit erzogen, nach einem Verweissystem auf andere Texte suchen." - Tilman Spreckelsen, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

  • "Zettel's Traum in der Bargfelder Ausgabe ist ein editorisches Ereignis ! (...) Wie die neue Ausgabe dieses multiple Schriftbild hergestellt hat, verdient alle Hochachtung. Ob man den Text deshalb wirklich in Gänze lesen muss, ist eine andere Frage. Es war ein grössenwahnsinniges Projekt von Arno Schmidt, Freuds Psychoanalyse durch eine Erzählung überbieten zu wollen, die in Sachen Wortartistik auch gleich noch Finnegans Wake in den Schatten stellt. Man darf es getrost als gescheitert bezeichnen. Zu penetrant wirken die eitlen Enthüllungsübungen des Daniel Pagenstecher, der als Schmidts Sprachrohr eine schemenhafte Figur bleibt. Vielleicht empfiehlt sich auch für dieses Buch die Methode: Anschauen, Durchblättern und Sichfestlesen an den Stellen, an denen die vehemente künstlerische Potenz des Neurotikers Schmidt sich gegen seinen literaturtheoretischen Zwangsapparat durchgesetzt hat." - Manfred Koch, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

  • "Zettels Traum ist da. Ich werde ihn lesen. Aber auch rezensieren? Dies auf jedn Phall: phil späht=er." - Gunar Ortlepp, Der Spiegel

  • "Nach den Gesetzen von Fabel und Handlungsbau passiert nicht viel Weltbewegendes. (...) Zum anderen darf Zettel's Traum aber eben auch als monumentale Klageschrift zum großen Abschiednehmen gelten. (...) Wer Lust auf das Herstellen von Querverbindungen verspürt, wird Zettel's Traum, dieses unmögliche Buch, in sein Herz schließen." - Ronald Pohl, Der Standard

  • "(A) treasure house of post-Joycean language-games, the projection of a complex and crotchety personality, a unique blend of fiction, conversation pieces and literary criticism, humorous and obsessed, intellectually adventurous and stuffily provincial, polyglot and archetypically German" - S.S.Prawer, Times Literary Supplement

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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Notes about the Reviews
and the Book's Reception
:

       For an enormous (originally published as a 1334-page typoscript, and now (2010) as a properly typeset 1536-page text), Zettel's Traum (originally published as Zettels Traum) is Arno Schmidt's much discussed and surprisingly well-selling magnum opus. The daunting nature of this read -- with some 2,225,000 words and its oversized pages -- has limited commentary, but each new edition, from CD-ROM to S.Fischer's hard- and paperback reissues to the 2010 release of Suhrkamp's typeset edition (which comes in three different editions, from single book to multi-volume (but still oversized) paperback) gets significant media coverage -- and the editorial work that went into the now-standard Suhrkamp edition has, of course, attracted particular notice.
       Arguably as readable (i.e. not) as Finnegans Wake, critics are divided on whether it is worth the considerable effort. I have the S.Fischer hardcover and hope to find the time someday ......
       (John E. Woods has reportedly long been laboring over an English translation; the brilliant translator of most of Schmidt's other work, he is, of course the man for the job; until he's done his translation of the more manageable The School for Atheists is a good starter/introductory volume -- Zettel's Traum-light (at least physically), as it were.)

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Links:

Zettel's Traum: Reviews: Arno Schmidt: Other books by Arno Schmidt under review: Books about Arno Schmidt under review: Other books of interest under review:
  • See Index of German literature at the complete review

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About the Author:

       German author Arno Schmidt lived 1914-1979. In addition to his ground-breaking fiction, he wrote extensively on literature and authors and worked as a translator.

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© 2010-2014 the complete review

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