Zettels Traum

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Zettels Traum cover
Cover of the 2004 paperback edition

Zettels Traum is a novel published in 1970 by German author Arno Schmidt. Schmidt began writing the novel in December 1963 while he and Hans Wollschläger began to translate the works of Edgar Allan Poe into German.[1] The novel was inspired by James Joyce's novel Finnegans Wake, particularly Schmidt's use of columns (his "SpaltenTechnik"), which Schmidt claimed was borrowed from the Wake.[2]

The gargantuan novel was published in folio format with 1334 pages. The story is told mostly in three shifting columns, presenting the text in the form of notes, collages, and typewritten pages.[3]


The novel is set in 1968 at 4 AM in the Lüneberg Heath in northeastern Lower Saxony in northern Germany. It follows the lives of Daniel Pagenstecher, visiting translators Paul Jacobi and his wife Wilma, and their teenage daughter Franziska. The story is concerned with the problems of translating Edgar Allan Poe into German.


  1. ^ Woods, John E. "Translator's Introduction." Collected Novellas: ix.
  2. ^ Langbehn, Volker Max. Arno Schmidt's Zettel's Traum: an analysis: 15.
  3. ^ http://www.camden-house.com/71132619.htm

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