The egghead republic by Arno Schmidt

The egghead republic by Arno Schimdt

German fiction

Original title –

Translated by Michael Horovitz

Source –  library book


“SDSS1416+13B (Zercon, A Flagpole Sitter)”

This is my job
I don’t come around and put out your red light
When you work

What’s the matter?
Didn’t you get enough attention at home?

If shit were music
La da da, la da da
You’d be a brass band

Know what?
You should get an agent, oh yeah, yeah
Why sit in the dark handling yourself

I choose a scott walker Lyric just for me he maybe is like Schmidt a one off unique mind .

I have been reading about the work Dalkey archive are doing to translate the Magnus opus from Arno Schmidt Zettels Dream which is a 1000 plus big book that is considered one of the best german books of the 20th century So Arno Schmidt is maybe a writer that most people haven’t heard of he is maybe the hidden gem of German literature his books didn’t sell greatly in his life but have grown over the years and through a foundation set up by his friend Jan Philipp Reetsma (a wealthy tobacco heir ) his works are getting new translations over time and republished Dalkey have already published some but this is actually an older translation from 1979.

 There: a zebroid-girl! : a black stripe parted her narrow impudent face down the middle, from her forehead down to the base of her throat: (bu tthen it slanted right, one white the other black, did that look elegant! And a mane of very coarse silver hair!)

One of the strange mutants seen by Charles waiting to enter the island on the western side in the US

Well The egghead republic maybe shows how unique Arno schmidt was it is a truely odd book .Well on the surface it follows a reporter visiting a man made island that has been filled with a group of selected genius in what is a republic of Artist and scienctist. The report Charles henry winter has fifty hours to discover what this “Egghead republic ” is all about.He has had to jump through hoops in what is the US after a nuclear war surrounded my mutants  .We see him trying to find out more about this strange island and the people that live their .As we see his thoughts and the answers is this really the paradise that it seems.

No! I must move on : I’m allowed in for 50 hours as a journalist; of which – oh, my god – 18 have already gone: really,I’ve nothing further to relate; and you are in the middle of your work; I only wanted to keep my promise!” shock his leastpainted elbow. And then, in the waker of Inglefield, into the posh residential quarter .

Charles finds time slipping through his hands on the island with nothing to show .

when I started this blog one of my goals as a reader was to find out the best writers around the world read and review them. But mainly for me to learn about different styles of fiction and what one can do with the form. Schimdt is one of those writers I had in mind at that time this book may from what I’ve  sound like is rather like a Jules Verne novel man made islands full of strange people is right up his street.You could also see a line from the novel Glass bead game which is about a community of intellectuals .There is also a real feel of the time when the book was written in the late 1950’s you jsut have to think of the culture of the time the start of the cold war fear of a second nuclear war , which as this book is set in the future has happened and the outcome that was imagined in many a b-movie of strange creatures appear is shown in the first part and the second part tries to show maybe what men can acheive .But even then the island is divide into east and west .The style of this book is statments almost spoken then the thought beghind it is  followed in a short  paragraph .I enjoyed my first dance with schmidt and really hope to get hold of Zettel’s traum when it comes out more about it here  from the english translator . The well known US translation blogger Michael Orthofer has written a book about Schmidt .A challenging read for my second German lit month book this year .

Have you read Arno Schmidt ?


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Guy Savage
    Nov 02, 2015 @ 01:19:37

    Ni I haven’t read him and had never heard of him. This doesn’t sound like my sort of book to be honest.


  2. Mytwostotinki
    Nov 02, 2015 @ 06:43:11

    Arno Schmidt is not exactly an author that is easy to read; I wonder how the translation sounds for you, Stu. I have an edition of Zettel’s Dream which cost me a fortune plus it is as heavy as a rucksack full of stones but I never warmed up to Schmidt’s idiosyncratic orthography and opinions. Not that he is a bad author, maybe he is just not for me. Btw, why do they so frequently translate the title of a book not correctly? A “Gelehrter” is a scientist or scholar, not an egghead – the word has no pejorative connotation in German.


  3. 1streading
    Nov 05, 2015 @ 15:03:18

    Often been tempted to read Schmidt but so far been put off by his reputed strangeness – perhaps next year’s German Lit Month! He sounds like the kind of writer you should experience at least once.


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November 2015


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