The Collected Stories


Gathered here are all of the short stories that Arno Schmidt wished to preserve.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Gathered here are all of the short stories that Arno Schmidt wished to preserve.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nobody will ever mistake Schmidt for a conventional writer. In every piece in this collection of short stories, the German author deftly juggles stream-of-consciousness narration, bizarre stage direction/punctuation "There ! Once again : - was Something up with me now?" and a strange, sly sense of humor-all deftly rendered by Woods, translator of the recent excellent editions of Buddenbrooks and The Magic Mountain. The result is experimental fiction of a very high order, narrative that will blow the socks off some readers while leaving others confused and alienated. The first two sections of this collection, titled "Tales from Island Street" and "Strenburg Stories," respectively, are a excellent places to begin deciphering Schmidt. The freelance writings of an author desperate for money, these short stories are much more accessible than Schmidt's longer work, while still maintaining his unique voice. The final section, "Country Matters," comes like a blow from a sledgehammer. The stories are longer, much more complex, and allusions to Joyce, Freud and scientific theorems flicker by at an unheard-of speed. For a collection spanning multiple levels of postwar German experimental fiction, it's hard to do much better than this book. Dec.
Library Journal
This, the third volume of Dalkey's projected four-volume series of translations of Schmidt's work including Nobodaddy's Children, LJ 9/15/95 and Collected Novellas, LJ 10/1/94, contains Tales from Island Street and the Strenberg Stories, unconventional but witty and accessible works that are the perfect introduction to this major, if obscure, artist. The remainder of the volume is gathered under the title "Country Matters" and includes the stories first published under the title Khe in Halbtrauer, or "Cows in Half Mourning," a reference to the black-and-white Holsteins prevalent in North Germany. While it would be impossible to characterize such a disparate collection in a few words, Schmidt often exposes the sexual, historical, and intellectual currents that course untamed beneath the superficially placid bourgeois society of postwar Germany, thereby creating an ironic space in which an outsider like himself could find some breathing room. Highly recommended.Michael T. O'Pecko, Towson State Univ., Md.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564781345
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/1996
  • Series: German and Austrian Literature Series, #3
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Arno Schmidt was born in 1914, in the working-class suburb of Hamburg-Hamm, Germany. Drafted into the army in
1940, he served in the artillery at a flak base in Norway until the end of the war. After being held as a prisoner of war for eight months, he worked briefly as an interpreter for the British military police.
His home in Lauban and, more importantly for him, his library had been lost in the war, and he and his wife were officially classified as
Displaced Persons. In 1946 they found refuge in a one-room apartment in
Cordingen in Lower Saxony. In 1958 Schmidt moved to the village of
Bargfeld near Celle. Over the next 20 years, until his death in 1979, he wrote some of the landmarks of postwar German literature.

John E. Woods won both the 1981 American Book Award and PEN award for his translation of Schmidt's Evening Edged in Gold and has published a new translation of Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks.

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Table of Contents

Translator's Introduction
Drummer for the Czar3
Trading Keys9
The Day the Cactus Bloomed12
Neighbor, Death and Solidus14
Hurrah for the Gypsy Life17
Cautious People19
Strange Days22
Rolling Night25
What Shall I Do?28
At the Telescope35
Tales from the Isle of Man39
Field Trip42
Song of the Meter50
Moondog and Pink Eyes54
Prone-Told Tale60
An Advance on Life65
The Howling House68
Summer Meteor71
Guerrilla War74
The Water Lily77
He Looked Too Much Like Him80
Black Hair84
Tall Grete87
Little Gray Mouse89
Sunward ...106
Cows in Half Mourning139
Great Cain151
Tools by Kunde164
The Waterway208
New Year's Eve Adventures235
Caliban upon Setebos251
A Note on the Texts305
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