Arno Schmidt

(January 18th, 1914 — June 3rd, 1979)

Arno Schmidt was a German novelist and translator. Though little known outside of German-speaking countries, he is considered to be one of the most important German writers of the 20th Century.

Schmidt’s work is post-war modernism. It is extremely difficult to translate, but is favoured amongst modernist scholars. Much of his personal philosophy and orthography can be found in his books. Many of his works have been translated by John E. Woods.

Schmidt was conscripted for the German Army in 1937 at the beginning of World War II. In 1945, he orchestrated his and his wife’s surrender to English forces. He became a POW and then a refugee before returning to West Germany with his wife. They eventually moved to Bargfeld, where they lived out the rest of their lives. The Schmidts were extremely poor both during and after the war.

Only a few thousand copies of his work sold during his lifetime. Schmidt admitted that he wrote only for a few people who appreciated his writing. In 1979, Schmidt died of a stroke and was buried in the backyard of his house in Bargfeld.

Arno Schmidt is a book author.

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