Arno Schmidt was a German writer who was born in Hamburg on 18 January 1914. After being released from an English prisoner of war camp shortly before the end of the Second World War, he worked as an interpreter and from 1947 as a freelance writer. In 1958 he moved to Bargfeld with his wife Alice where he lived a withdrawn life until his death. From 1949, when his story Leviathan was published in book form, he produced radio dialogues about literature, essays, biographical works and novels, including his major work Zettel’s Traum (‘Bottom’s Dream’) which was 1,334 folio pages long and weighed in at over ten kilos. Because of the complex layout, it could only be published as a typescript facsimile when it came out in 1970; it wasn’t until 2010 that it was published in properly set type. Arno Schmidt died in Celle on 3 June 1979.
*Photo: © Max Ehlert, Suhrkamp Verlag.