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Collected Early Fiction, 1949-1964
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Table of Contents

v. 1. Collected novellas -- v. 2. Nobodaddy's children -- v. 3. Collected stories -- v. 4. Two novels.

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Schmidt's writing often echoes Proust's hysterical empiricism or Joyce's manic wordplay, at times rivaling even Finnegans Wake. With this opening volume of Schmidt's prose works in English, perhaps he will be recognized in this country for what he is: a truly innovative and witty writer. Highly recommended. "When Arno Schmidt died, on Whit-Sunday 1979, modern German prose lost its greatest virtuoso . . . Reading Arno Schmidt can be addictive. I was first captivated by him in the late 1960s, and know no greater reading pleasure in the whole of postwar German literature. Schmidt defies translation. But here John E. Woods captures his very persona and gleeful eroticism . . . Let us hope that . . . this new edition of the early works has the success it deserves . . . Then Arno Schmidt will assume his rightful place in modern literature. Collected Novellas is an enticing introduction to the twisted mind games of Schmidt, to his unusual prose, his raving, voracious mind. While the themes and stories alone warrant hefty works ...more of fiction war, devastation, love, art it's the rambunctious style that brings these themes their power and their immediacy as well as their ability to capture, like Virginia Woolf, moments of being. Only Schmidt's moment is one of history's uglier, that of Nazi Germany, war on the western front, a POW camp, and postwar hypocrisy. By a bitter bit of mistiming, Arno Schmidt, who died in 1979, has now become at least partly accessible in English . . . It's a shame that we are learning about his career only now when ...more it's over; all the more reason, then, to blow the untimely trumpet. He was a very good writer; we should have known his work sooner. The clown prince of contemporary German fiction, Arno Schmidt [was] a satirist who first wrote rather straight, pessimistic, intensely visual allegories of post-Nazi society, with ...more excursions into the time of Alexander the Great and A.D. 541, and then soared into tight, allusive wordplay that translates uncommonly well into English.

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