[Arno Schmidt's Zettel's Traum An Analysis Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture] Read ç Volker Max Langbehn
Read to get most of the idea behind how Schmidt evolved his writings over the earsEspecially since I couldn t grasp the punning Schmidt displays in German and it is mentioned in the conclusion that a translation destroys the nuances of Schmidt s play with language it makes Le Tricot Poche Pour les Nuls you appreciate allthe the word juggling finesse Woods has displayed within his translation of ZT of which us English readers should be forever grateful of what he s created and will probably solidify some ideasou have floating around Deliciously Ella entre amis your head regarding the ZT text Everything in this is good stuff especially an interesting section looking into Schmidt s reading of FreudPossibly worth brushing up on that Freud and by extension basic Lacan an intro book maybe Or Seminar II Seminar II Mostly for Lacan s Poe reading as the section regarding the creation of the Ego might be a little confusing for anyone not acuainted with their ideas nothing massively confusingimpenetrable though For me this was worth it and the cheap paperback copies don t cost a whole lot to get a hold of useful for the mono bilingual alike but weigh up if it s worth it toou Flick through this every now and then or use it as a bank of recommendations for other works to read I do wish I had a copy of the Schmidt RoCF oh well it ll have to stay on my wishlist until I find one An Aside I started Woodsing this in the beginning and produced slip in pages of corresponding passages Alas the uotes came thick and fast and I just didn t have the time to continue I ve just grown to love Schmidt that much maybe one day I ll finish that an eBook of BD would be useful for that since I was typing up passages complete with punctuation Despite my efforts to introduce Schmidt and particularly Zettel s Traum to an English speaking audience I am aware of the difficulty of the task One of the primary reasons lies in the book itself A translation would destroy many uniue characteristics of the book Written in High German various German dialects and slangs English and other languages a translation would regulate or destroy the nuances of Schmidt s play with language inevitably leading to closure Its linguistic density most likely relegates Zettel s Traum to a position where it always has been at the margins of German literature However a reader of Zettel s Traum will be rewarded with a wealth of information and insights Reading Zettel s Traum always makes the reader aware of what she or he does not know It s pretty difficult to pinpoint the reader this book was written for On the one hand there is the stated purpose of introducing both Schmidt and Zettel s Traum to an English speaking audience In a way I suppose it does that But really this is a work of criticism and the author is aware of that and proud of the fact that it s one of the only works of criticism that focuses on Zettel s Traum in English But being a work of criticism it consists of a thesis or due to the chapter structure theses supporting uotes from the text itsef as well uotes from Schmidt uotations from other source material and existing criticism of Zettel s Traum and then the author s own analyses and argumentation Oh that stuff I ve put in bold up there It s all in German in the book So every time the author makes a point it s supported by text that would be inaccessible to an English speaking audience so again I m a bit at a loss of what the true point of the work is If a reader was proficient enough in German to be reading Zettel s Traum then they also have access to the criticism and source materials available in German Having this in English criticism and source materials available in German Having this in English like a First activity than a truly accessible form of criticismNow that said 1 It s the only game in town If VO2 max l'preuve du temps you re an English speaker who now has a copy of the Woods translation of Bottom s Dream this is almost the only work available toou while Kanji et Kana : Manuel et lexique des 2141 caractres officiels de l'criture japonaise suivi de caractres composs formant un vocabulaire de base de plus de 12 000 mots you re beatingour head against that towering monolith of a book2 Despite my criticism there still is a lot of good stuff here from a critical perspective I was left very aware of the extent of what I missing while reading this analysis but at the same time it did assist me in my current read of Bottom s Dream And let s be honest if Un Protecteur Pour Caroline (Forces Trs Spciales t. 1) you re they type of reader who is going to put in the numerous hours reuired to read Bottom s Dreamou re also the type of reader who is going to read this I m glad I read it it provided a few things for which I am grateful 1 I m about halfway through BD at the moment Langbehn s synopsis of the work in his opening chapter was helpful in grounding my reading specifically I read his synopsis and thought hey I got all that from my reading so far ay So that was helpful2 It is also helpful to have a clear explanation of Schmidt s Etym theory a lot of what Langbehn describes is provided in the text of BD but having a in plain English 20 or so page explanation of why Schmidt is writing the way he is and what influenced that writing is by itself invaluable3 Even with the incompleteness of the insight s provided since I don t readspeak German there is a lot of good insight purely in English here and it slots in well with my reading of BD up to this point Also I really liked his explanation of *the title I ve read a lot of this explanation already but I *title I ve read a lot of this explanation already but I he organized it well and in such a way that it really illuminates the depth of which Schmidt has accomplished in his writing Nick Bottom the weaver rendered as Zettel literally warp signifies the bottomless encodedness of Zettel s Traum and of our psyche The word bottom of Bottom s Dream means in collouial German Po and in German slang further Arsch a word anagrammatically contained in the name of one of the characters Timon d Arsch in Schule der Atheisten SdA 139 as well as in the name Arno Schmidt Timon d Arsch would also suggest a reference to Shakespeare s play The Life of Timon of Athens 1608 Zettel s Traum is a joke a great Verarschung of the reader who takes it seriously Moreover Zettel suggests paragrammatically Jean Paul s novel Des uintus Fi. How literary language can mediate or account for the world of experiences and for concepts Schmidt's use of unconventional presentation formats challenges us to analyze how we think about reading and writing literary texts Instead of viewing such texts as a representation of reality Schmidt's novel destabilizes this unuestioned mode of representation posing a radical challenge to what contemporary literary criticism defines as literature No comprehensive study of Zettel's Traum exists in English Volker Langbehn is professor of German at San Francisco State Universi. ,
Minds that is not in consciousness there are memories and recollections all sorts of information data instructions directions which we say is part of our mind but only occasionally brought into consciousness if all is in good working order when we need it desire it There is also information we ve off loaded from consciousness to text phones laptops notebooks or photographs The Extended Mind Theory says that these external objects and importantly the information they carry are part of mind Mind extends beyond the boundary of bone and skin and these extensions play an active part in our cognitive life As one can imagine this theory is not without controversy See their article here reprinted in 2010 Clark A and Chalmers D The Extended Mind The Extended Mind Cambridge MA MIT Press 2010I m not suggesting that Schmidt s Extended Mind Game is in any way similar to Chalmer s theory the origin of the two concepts separated by decades however I do see Chalmer s Extended Mind as providing some theoretical support to Schmidt s Game And I ll leave that discussion right thereLangbehn hints at a definition of Schmidt s concept in different guises throughout the book In an attempt to arrive at a clear understanding of the TEMG I tentatively cautiously offer this The Extended Mind Game is the interplay between consciousness and the unconscious the discourse if ou will between them which can take the form of dreams or commonly Creative Imagination What this means in practice is TEMG is a process of recollection the opening of the unsconscious through the metaphor of language which and this is my tie in to the Chalmer s theory includes recollection through the language of literature through the Extended Mind via the etym That s my interpretation here are the varied ways Langbehn approaches The Extended Mind Game For instance the Extended Mind Game L ngeres Gedankenspiel of the participants in the right column explains to a certain extent the left column 16 Schmidt s montages provoke the Extended Mind Game or in Benjamin s terms reflective experience 22 Schmidt consitutes time and space through three modes of consciousness and cognition the process of recollection the remembering of the most recent past and the Extended Mind Game already identified as a form of reflective experience 39 If temporality appears only in fragmented form then events present themselves only through the Extended Mind Game as memory and anticipation 42 This constant reconfiguration of knowledge confirms the Extended Mind Game as an infinite act of reflection 45 Schmidt s texts are the product of imagination since the Extended Mind Game functions as the fictional representation of literary production 64 The Extended Mind Game the process of recollection the emphasis on internal and external experiences and the dream are already the precursors for the detailed description of the human psyche and the etym theory in Zettel s Traum 95 The Extended Mind Game as the metaphor par excellence 108 109 As a process of recollection the Extended Mind Game relies on a figurative character of language 109 The Extended Mind Game as creative imagination plays between the discourses of conscious thought and of the unconscious 1785 LITERARY REALISM Schmidt wanted to emulate in his text the lack of continuity typical of modern existence a literature that reflected real life Even our memory is often random in its associations 60 Everything we have discussed to this point supports his Literary Realism Intertextuality writing in columns and the breakdown between areas of knowledge forces the reader to his own interpretation to endless interpretations 6 THE ETYM Etyms are morphemes or word roots unknown to conscious thought which Pagenstecher uses to demonstrate the activities of the unconscious 15 What Schmidt appears to be positing *is a mental language something which has a rich history in the philosophy *a mental language something which has a rich history in the philosophy mind and language See Fodor Jerry A 1975 The Language of Thought New York Thomas Y Crowell And Fodor Jerry A1987 Psychosemantics Cambridge MA Bradford BooksMIT PressChomsky Noam 1965 Aspects of the Theory of Syntax Cambridge MA MIT Press If someone like philosopher Peter Carruthers is correct that there exists a linguistic based inner thinking language that allows thoughts to enter the conscious mind then Schmidt might be correct in positing an etym like language that guides the subconscious through metaphor into our consciousness A subject for another timeCLOSING THOUGHTS While I m tempted to continue musing about Langbehn s analysis I m abruptly stopping here I ve glossed uickly over Literary Realism and Etyms because I realized that this topic is bottomless and Langbehn s book is so dense with Schmidt s theories and concepts that I could work on this for longer than I have time And I haven t even mentioned Freud etLangbehn s book has opened up many areas of inuiry and thought for me triggered personal interests and study that I haven t pursued in decades My time is better spent getting on with actually reading Bottom s Dream perhaps then of what Langbehn has to say will become clearer Or notSo I m accepting Schmidt s philosophy as Langbehn has presented it while fascinating as literary theory only his Arbeitsweise for the purpose of reading his fiction his concepts and ontology I ll worry about later for the purpose of reading his fiction his concepts and ontology I ll worry about later opening pair of statementsWhat this is not and it really is stating the obvious a breezy guide to reading Bottom s Dream the Woodsing or English of What this is Solid analysis large in scope incredibly insightful but of Zettels Traum the 1970 GermanFor those still interested dust off our German or in my case phrases pulled from some Scon bank paired with a Smartphone translator app allowing me to play spot the difference with BD oh the wonders of technology have a copy of BDZT handy and maybe a stack of Schmidt s early works either physically or somewhere in memory Dalkey s 4 volumes should suffice for the English reader and only volume 1 is really a prereuisite. Most famous novel Zettel's Traum One reviewer called the book an elephantine monster because of its unconventional size folio format length 1334 pages and over 10 million characters and uniue presentation of text in the form of notes typewritten pages parallel columns and collages The novel narrates the life of the main characters Daniel Pagenstecher Paul Jacobi and his wife Wilma and their teenage daughter Franziska In discussing the life and works of Edgar Allan Poe the four engage in the problems connected with a translation of Poe Langbehn's study investigates. A great primer and thought provoker ahead of tackling Bottom s Dream While not essential it does help prepare the digestion of the Dream and with so few options of analysis available well worth the uick 200 page read This is an excellent introduction to Schmidt s magnum opus truly one of the great works of art of the last century Unfortunately I read this analysis after having read Schmidt s book Halfway through reading it I was aware that elements of Langbehn s interpretation seemed to come out of left field This makes sense and the very last paragraph of his book as another Goodreads reviewer points out confirms it because Woods the translator can t help but convert Schmidt into the English language I use convert as opposed to translate because I do think that Woods work is a masterpiece in itself and while the details of Langbehn s interpretation don t always match up with the text I read his general principles can be plausibly applied to Woods conversion I suspect if Langbehn published his analysis after Woods translation he would still have had to use the German when uoting and that would Wood be correct because his analysis is specifically a reading of what Schmidt does with the German language One final word it s impossible to feel that this introduction reuires a spoiler alerts Essential to the forthcoming Woods translation of Zettel s Traum Along the indispensable lines of Wake s Skeleton Key and the Moore annotations of The Recognitions Looking forward going about Schmidt s opus with Langbehn nearby It s been How To Top Like A Stud: A Penetrating Guide to Gay Sex. (Like A Porn Star) years since I ve looked forward to a publication like this and I see nothing on the horizon thereafter as per fiction Langbehn s analysis is just great Reading Zettel s Traum always makes the reader aware of what she or he does not knowNathan s encounter with a faulty copy steered me away The sheer size of the BD changed that I needed help Anyone sitting on the fence about purchasing this should read Ronald s review I am not sure there s anything left for me to note Am updated edition with the cited bits translated by Woods would be an IMMENSE improvement I struggled over what to jot down about this complex little volume or whether I should write nothing The analysis itself covers some pretty heavy philosophical ground particularly in the area of language mind and cognitive science and I was afraid once I started to analyze the analysis I would soon find myself bogged down in a lengthy and time consuming endeavor And that s just what happenedThough my graduate work in the philosophy of mind and language is now many decades in my past I haven t stayed current with research in the field reading this work by Langbehn brought to mind a host of past reading and study the pragmatics and speech acts of Austin Searle Harnish Bach and Grice the philosophy of mind work by Fodor Ryle Dennett Lewis Chalmers and others and of course studies in the philosophy of language by Wittgenstein Kripke Chomsky Russell Putnam Davidson Katz uine and others Though these philosophers are not mentioned in this book their work came to mind often as I read Langbehn Against my better judgement I decided to forge ahead and attempt a brief outline of some of the critical points as I understand them that they might serve as guideposts to aid me in my own journey through Bottom s Dream which I hope to start before the end of theear This is Langbehn then filtered through me through my own interpretive lens and any misunderstanding or misrepresentation of Langbehn s analysis or theories or Schmidt s is my fault alone 1 WRITING IN COLUMNS The columns are divided by theme a The center column reflects the events of the ears between 1965 and 1969 15 b The left column contains discussions of Poe s writings c The right column contains extensive uotations from literature myth and devotional texts and other references 15 These are intended as supplements to the discussions at hand The key to understanding the text lies in the relation between the columns 17 See INTERTEXTUALITY below hint everything is connected And by the way eventually the columns will change2 INTERTEXTUALITY Schmidt recognized that it is impossible to be free of the influence of other texts the interconnection among texts by way of devices like allusion uotation pastiche parody etc adds layers of depth to a reading which is further influenced by the reader s prior knowledge of other subjects and familiarity with other literary texts And since "all texts are connected in some way to that which came before any hope of discovering " texts are connected in some way to that which came before any hope of discovering of authorship is lost thus uotation marks are meaningless and the boundary between text and intertext disappears Only the reader s presence establishes the presence of the other without his or her act of reading there is no writing or thinking 313 AUTHOR AS POLYHISTORIAN Dan Pagenstecher speaks of the book as an encyclopedia 44 is he referring to Bottom s Dream itself Schmidt cites such various disciplines as architecture painting mathematics astronomy cosmology psychology history contemporary culture making BD something of an encyclopedia but without clear division of disciplines here again the ideas of Intertextuality and Interconnection Just as the boundary between text and intertext has fallen so too the boundaries between areas of knowledge All is material for our reconfiguration of knowledge The text has significance in its relationship to other texts a relationship which is in itself reflexive The encyclopedia is without Bottom 4 THE EXTENDED MIND GAME That The Extended Mind Game TEMG is an important concept in Schmidt s literary philosophy is clear from its freuent mention in this analysis though Langbehn s attempts at a clear and concise definition seems to elude Him In My OpinionWhat in my opinionWhat intrigued me about Schmidt s concept was that it reminded me of The Extended Mind Theory first proposed by Andy Clark and David Chalmers in a late 90s paper of the same name The theory goes something like this There is a lot in our. Arno Schmidt 1914 1979 is considered one of the most daring and influential writers of postwar Germany; the Germanist Jeremy Adler has called him a giant of postwar German literature Schmidt was awarded the Fontane Prize in 1964 and the Goethe Prize in 1973 and his early fiction has been translated into English to high critical acclaim but he is not a well known figure in the English speaking world where his complex work remains at the margins of critical inuiry Volker Langbehn's book introduces Schmidt to the English speaking audience with primary emphasis on his.