Individual, Collective and Poetic Memory in the Work of Arno Schmidt

Kathrin Friederike Schneider


By going through the work of the German writer Arno Schmidt (1914-1979), this paper highlights the specific relationship between literature, story writing, and memory. Schmidt’s work reflects the historical and literary claims of its author: write literature but also at the same time contribute to occidental written tradition as the founding and heritage of people’s cultural and collective memory. The paper analyzes two of Schmidt’s works, the novella Leviathan as well as the biography of the romantic poet Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué - both of them being authentic testimonies and narrations of memory (ies). The study of the narrative perspective, the enunciative instance of “I”, allows us to single out its significance and implication for the reader and Schmidt’s concept of objectivity in the presentation of historical events and facts. 


Memory, subjectivity, narratology, (auto-)biography, intertextuality

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