Two Novels: The Stony Heart & B/Moondocks

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Dalkey Archive Press, 1997 - Fiction - 416 pages

This is the last in a four volume edition of the early fiction of one of the most daring and influential writers of postwar Germany, a man often called the German James Joyce due to the linguistic inventiveness of his fiction.

Among Schmidt enthusiasts, scholars, and fans, the two novels stand in sharp contrast to one another, the first belonging to his early, more realistic phase, and the second introducing his later, more experimental phase. But the hairs are not worth splitting.

Taking place in 1954, "The Stony Heart" concerns a man gathering documents for a study of a historian, and in the course of his search he gets involved with a woman who is married to a man who is involved with a woman, etc. "B/Moondocks" has parallel stories, one played out in a rural German town in the late 1950s, and the other on the moon in 1980 (the book was first published in German in 1960).

At the heart of both is an absolute commitment to two things: freeing language from its commonplace prose functions, and Schmidt's ongoing savage attack on the German mind-set and attitude that gave us two world wars in this century.

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THE STONY HEART and B/MOONDOCKS: Two Novels

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The Stony Heart and B/Moondocks ($49.95; Dec. 10, 1997; 424 pp.; 1-56478-170-4): The concluding installment of translator Woods's stupendous four-volume edition of ``the German Joyce's'' Collected ... Read full review

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
48
Section 3
100
Section 4
159
Section 5
180
Section 6
182
Section 7
201
Section 8
213
Section 13
341
Section 14
344
Section 15
354
Section 16
361
Section 17
388
Section 18
390
Section 19
391
Section 20
401

Section 9
233
Section 10
234
Section 11
277
Section 12
308
Section 21
411
Section 22
417
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

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.

Bibliographic information